MINNEAPOLIS – Odyssey Sims led four double-figure scorers and Minnesota took control in the fourth quarter to upend the Indiana Fever 81-73, Sunday night at Target Center.
Minnesota (17-15) swept an August homestand with its fourth straight win and captured the season series with the Fever. Indiana (11-21) lost its second straight game following a pair of wins.
Indiana sustained a single-digit lead much of the contest but was hurt by 19 turnovers which produced 25 points for the Lynx.
“The fact that we gave up 25 points off 19 turnovers was pretty glaring because we showed the ability to move the basketball and get the shots we wanted,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman. “That gives away momentum.”
Candice Dupree, who led Indiana with a game-high 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, echoed the same sentiment: “We shot the ball well. We did a good job moving the ball and doing what we wanted to do, but you can’t have the turnovers we did. You lose opportunities when you don’t control the ball.”
Sims scored 17 in the winning effort and rookie Napheesa Collier had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lynx. Sylvia Fowles and Lexie Brown each scored 10 for Minnesota.
Tiffany Mitchell added 14 and a game-high six assists for the Fever. Teaira McCowan had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Betnijah Laney scored 11.
The Lynx controlled most of the first quarter before Dupree and Mitchell helped lift the Fever to a 23-20 lead after at the first quarter break and a 41-38 advantage at intermission. Dupree and Mitchell both had 10 at the break with rookie center McCowan contributing six points and six rebounds.
With 2:40 left before halftime, McCowan corralled her fifth rebound to pass Tamika Catchings (276 in 2002) and establish a new Fever rookie rebounding mark. With 283 total rebounds, she enters the Fever’s final two games at No. 2 in Fever history behind Erlana Larkins’ 303 in 2014. She is seventh in WNBA history by a rookie behind Cindy Brown (301 in 1998) and Candace Parker (313 in 2008).
McCowan’s fourth straight double-double also tied Catchings’ franchise mark from a similar August run of four games during her rookie campaign in 2002.
But McCowan was mostly held in check by Olympic center Fowles and a Lynx squad that controlled the boards overall (34-28). And though the Fever shot 57 percent through three quarters, Indiana fell behind by 10, 75-65, midway through the fourth, hampered by just 35 percent shooting in the final period.
McCowan picked up her fifth personal foul and a technical foul after a Fowles bucket to make it 68-63. Brown’s foul shot made it 69-63 and Fowles gave the Lynx their 10-point cushion with 5:31 to go.
Minnesota strung together runs of 9-2 and 7-0 in the third period to claim a 61-59 lead through three quarters. The Lynx hit all four of their 3-pointers in the final quarter to steal momentum and keep distance from Indiana’s comeback efforts.
Indiana closes its 2019 season at New York on Friday and at home against Connecticut next Sunday.