If you look at Lynx center Sylvia Fowles’ numbers, it appears she’s been very good, very steady, all season.
And, basically, she has.
But Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said Fowles has taken a big jump in the last four games, all Lynx victories.
“If you look at her statistically, you’d say, ‘She’s doing her thing,’" Reeve said. “But even she’ll tell you she wasn’t at the level she’s at now."
In the last four games Fowles has been better on defense, particularly on the pick-and-roll and defending the rim with help defense. Overall, she’s done a bit more. She has six blocks and six assists in the last three games. And she’s still a double-double machine.
Basically, her game is just more efficient. In the six games before the team’s current four-game winning streak, Fowles averaged nearly five turnovers a game. In the last four? Just 1.3.
“I think for Syl, she feeds off teammates a little, too," Reeve said. Her point: Fowles can be affected a bit when her teammates are struggling. But, with Maya Moore starting to hit her stride and Rebekkah Brunson back defending at a high level, Fowles has taken her game to a higher level, too. We’ll see if that continues in tonight’s game against Seattle at Target Center.
The Storm has the WNBA’s leading scorer in Breanna Stewart (21.9). The Storm, which has the second-best record in the league, go with a relatively small lineup that features three players under 6 feet. They spread you out and then shoot threes.
Seattle leads the league in three-pointers attempted (23.9) and made (8.6) per game as well as three-point shooting percentage (36.2). So perimeter defense will be key, as will making sure Jewell Loyd doesn’t hurt them on drives and in transition.
Here are a couple key matchups:
--Brunson on Stewart. Once again it appears Brunson will take on the other team’s best player. When the Lynx go small, that job will fall to Moore. Last season, in three games vs. Minnesota, Stewart averaged 16.7 points on 39 percent shooting.
--Fowles will likely draw Natasha Howard on defense. Howard, an inside finisher, has thrived in the Seattle offense, where the Storm’s spacing gives her all kinds of room inside. But Fowles has six blocks and 37 rebounds in the last three games.
One final note: Backup forward Cecilia Zandalasini has averaged 18-plus minutes the last five games, and has hit at least one three-pointer in all five, shooting 6-for-13 (46.1 percent) from behind the arc in those games.