Just 48 hours earlier Lynx center Sylvia Fowles had sat in her locker at Target Center, tears in her eyes and her voice cracking with emotion. She had struggled, the Lynx had lost to the worst team in the WNBA and the frustration was boiling over.
There was a lot of emotion in Target Center, too. It was the archrival Los Angeles Sparks, of course. National television. During the course of a rough-and-tumble game Rebekkah Brunson emerged as the greatest rebounder in league history. Seconds later, with seven minutes left in the game, after a no-call on Fowles, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was assessed two technicals and ejected as the announced crowd of 9,303 roared.
Through it all, Fowles stood out.
In an 83-72 victory over the Sparks, Fowles made 10 of 11 shots. She scored 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds. She also had a career-high seven assists on a night when both her and the Lynx bounced back with a vengeance after a down game.
“Two days can make a whole lot of difference,” said Fowles, who had assists on three of the team’s eight made three-pointers. “It was a new day, a new game. I just tried to take what L.A. gave me, pass when I needed to pass. Everything pretty much worked out well tonight.”
The Lynx (11-7) won despite another off-night shooting for Maya Moore, who scored only eight points, hitting on only two of 13 shots — making her 5-for-28 over the past two games.
Afterward, Moore said she wasn’t concerned. “I’m going to stay the course,” she said. “It doesn’t feel good to miss so many shots I usually make. I’ll continue to focus on every aspect of the game. It’s coming.”
But the Lynx won without a big night from Moore. Brunson had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Lindsay Whalen had 10 points. Danielle Robinson had eight points off the bench, and Cecilia Zandalasini hit both her three-point attempts. She has made at least one trey in 10 consecutive games.
The Sparks (12-7) got 22 points from Candace Parker and 15 from Nneka Ogwumike.
A 9-0 first-quarter run gave the Lynx a lead they never lost. But the team really took over with a 23-12 flourish to end the third quarter that put the Lynx up 66-53.
That lead was down to nine with seven minutes left after Parker hit both technical free throws, and Reeve was in the locker room watching. She was unhappy with the no-call with Fowles under the basket, feeling there should have been either a foul or a jump ball. She was also, she said, trying to call a timeout.
“So I received a technical for calling a timeout,” Reeve said. “And a second technical for I have no idea what.”
No matter. With James Wade taking over for Reeve, Fowles took over on the floor. She hit two free throws, a 14-foot jumper and two more free throws, with 5:50 left. It was a personal 6-0 run that put the Lynx up 15. In all she scored 11 fourth-quarter points.
Was Fowles motivated by Reeve’s departure? “When they ejected her I was like, ‘All right, now it’s time to step up and have their back,’ ” she said. “So yeah, I felt some kind of way.”
It was a big victory for a team trying to stay in the mix atop the league standings.
Turns out it was a big night for a number of folks. Brunson, the only player with five WNBA title rings, passed Tamika Catchings to become the top rebounder, with 3,318. Fowles bounced back from a tough game. Reeve became the winningest female coach in league history (206) — from the locker room.
Afterward, Brunson had the ball she had set the record with in her locker. Fowles had a big smile on her face.
“This game, it’s all about how you respond,” Fowles said. “I’m surrounded by a lot of good people here. I think I responded well.’’
Moore leads fan voting
Moore is the leading vote-getter for the WNBA All-Star Game in the first fan returns with 25,496, followed by Washington’s Elena Delle Donne (24,152). The game is July 28 at Target Center.
After all the votes are tallied, players will be ranked within each of the four voting groups — fans, players, head coaches and media. The 22 players with the highest overall score will play in the All-Star Game. The team captains — the two highest vote-getters — will draft their teams. Fowles is eighth in fan voting.