Napheesa Collier, rookies rally Lynx to 73-70 victory over Sparks

21 July 2023

For the second time in three days, the Minnesota Lynx again played one dominant half of basketball.

A late 12-0 run saved them from an embarrassing loss.

Napheesa Collier scored eight of her game-high 22 points during the late surge and Minnesota rallied past Los Angeles 73-70 Thursday to end a three-game slide.

“That’s what the greatest players do. Whenever the team needs them, they show up, and Phee’s definitely that person for us,” said Lynx center Dorka Juhász. “… She’s been playing like an MVP.”

Minnesota blew a 20-point first-half lead and an 18-point advantage late in the third quarter, finding itself down by seven with 4:07 to play as Los Angeles capped a 31-6 run.

Collier said overcoming the bad stretch had to happen in Minnesota’s own end. “We weren’t playing defensively like we needed to. So, we were just, ‘We have to lock down and defend the three, which they were killing us on.’ ”

It’s next five times with the ball, Los Angeles missed three shots and turned it over twice.

At the other end, Collier scored on a putback, fast-break layup and a turnaround jumper to get the Lynx within 68-67. Diamond Miller and Lindsay Allen each made a pair of free throws, and Collier scored on a cutting layup with 42.9 seconds to play.

The Lynx (10-12) swept the four games against 7-14 Los Angeles this season, with no game decided by more than six points.

Juhász finished with a career-high 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting and 10 rebounds. She added three assists and two steals. The No. 16 overall pick in this year’s draft is the first WNBA rookie to have 15-plus points, double-digit rebounds, at least three assists and two steals while shooting at least 70% in a regular-season game. Collier is the only rookie to do so in the postseason.

It came with her parents in from Hungary to see her play for the first time as a professional.

“I want to be a triple threat,” Juhász said. “I definitely want to make sure I shoot from the outside, I drive, but also if I have mismatches, I post up. If shots are not falling from the outside, I need to be able to kind of drive or make passes or finish. It’s a learning process, but I’m getting more comfortable.”

Miller narrowly missed a triple double with 13 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. She was the No. 2 pick in the 2023 draft.

Juhász and Nina Milić each had seven points while the Lynx scored 25 of the first 30 points in the second quarter for a 43-24 lead.

At one point, the 6-foot-5 Juhász made a steal near her own free-throw line, dribbled down the floor while fighting off a Sparks defender, and scored on a layup while being fouled. Next time down the floor she scored on a move in the low post.

“Dorka with the ball is really impressive,” coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Less than a minute later she took a pass under the hoop for what would have been another layup, but passed out to Bridget Carleton, who swished home a trey. Juhász added her second long-distance make 42 seconds later. And the lead was 20.

Powers back

Guard Aerial Powers was scoreless in 3:34 after missing ​14 games with a sprained left ankle. Her return was offset by the release of guard Kayana Traylor from her hardship contract.

Powers played in seven games this season, averaging 5.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 9.7 minutes of play.

Banham’s broken thumb

The Lynx announced a surgical consultation conducted at the Mayo Clinic confirmed that Rachel Banham has a right thumb fracture. No surgery will be needed, and the eighth-year guard will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. The former Gopher was injured July 9 against Las Vegas yet played ​27 minutes in the July 12 contest. Banham has averaged 5.5 points, 1.9 assists and 1.3 rebounds off the bench.

Related Articles

Minnesota Lynx |

Kelsey Plum scores 40 to power Aces to 113-89 blowout win over Lynx

Minnesota Lynx |

Lynx’s Napheesa Collier plays Storm-stopper for second time this week

Minnesota Lynx |

Napheesa Collier’s 33 points, Diamond Miller’s energetic return spark Lynx to 104-93 win over Storm

Minnesota Lynx |

Low-energy Lynx routed 89-68 by Connecticut Sun

Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.