By halftime, Lexie Brown had played 71 seconds.
She’d gone in to start the second quarter, played 1:11 and gotten pulled, with Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve demanding more defense.
In an 81-73 victory Sunday over Indiana at Target Center, in front of an announced 8,833 fans, Brown became the epitome of a Lynx team now finishing what it starts.
Brown scored 10 points in a span of 8:11 as the Lynx went from down six late in the third to being up 10 mid-fourth. Minnesota (17-15) finished a 4-0 homestand and kept a half-game lead over Seattle for sixth place in the WNBA with two games left.
Sunday began with the emotion of Seimone Augustus returning to the starting lineup for the last home game of the season and ended with the Lynx throttling the Fever, which had played well since beginning to feature center Teaira McCowan.
“It’s certainly growth,” said Reeve of a team that had struggled to finish games. “In our struggles earlier, you learn so much about yourself.”
What works and what doesn’t, for example. Which personnel groups work best.
The Lynx, whose four-game winning streak makes them the WNBA’s hottest team, have pared down their game plan.
And it’s working.
“I think it says a lot,” said Napheesa Collier, who played well again, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. She is now the second WNBA rookie with 400 points, 200 rebounds and 60 steals. You may have heard of the other: Tamika Catchings.
“That was our biggest weakness; we would come out flat in the fourth,” Collier said. “This is something we’ve been trying to change. And I think you can see we’ve made progress.”
Unlike Tuesday’s victory over Chicago, when the Lynx bench didn’t score a point, this was a true team victory.
Odyssey Sims had 17 points, five rebounds, four assists. Sylvia Fowles battled McCowan to a draw. Collier had six of her points and four of her rebounds in the fourth quarter, including a moment when she came out of nowhere to rebound a Sims miss, which led to Fowles scoring to put the Lynx up 10.
And then there was Brown. The Lynx were down 57-51 after Indiana’s Kelsey Mitchell hit a three with 1:50 left in the third.
Sims scored. After a Fever turnover, Brown hit a three. After a Fever miss, Sims scored again to put the Lynx up a point. Candice Dupree (18 points) scored with 12.5 seconds left in the quarter.
At the other end Sims drove, kicked out to Brown. Guarded by Erica Wheeler, Brown put the ball on the floor, rose and hit a 27-footer at the buzzer to put the Lynx up two entering the fourth.
“I work on that shot a lot,” Brown said. “Like, a lot. I’m glad [Sims] found me. She has confidence in me, and I’m grateful for that.”
The momentum had changed. Indiana scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, then the Lynx went on a 14-4 run. From 1:50 left in the third to mid-fourth, the Lynx outscored Indiana 24-8.
“That was a big swing,” Fowles said of Brown’s third-quarter buzzer-beater. “It got everybody hyped. We knew we had ’em on their heels.”
The Fever shot 60 percent in the first half, 41.9 in the second. It was the first time in 11 games this season that the Lynx had won while being outshot.