ATLANTA – The Lynx had some trouble on the boards Tuesday night, but they collected some big rebounds with the game on the line.
Sylvia Fowles bounced back from her worst game of the year with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and the Lynx defeated Atlanta 81-72 at McCamish Pavilion, the third meeting between the teams in 12 days.
The Lynx (21-3) won all three, and this victory came after they lost at Indiana on Sunday to end a seven-game winning streak. In that game, Fowles finished with a season-low six points, playing only 20 minutes because of foul trouble.
“It’s all mental and that’s something that I worked on this offseason,” Fowles said of staying mentally fit. “I pride myself on that. I think my coaches do a really good job of making it awkward in practice for me. In the games, it flows for me. I get beat up in practice so when I get to the game I know it’s no way that it can be worse than this. A lot of credit goes to my coaches.”
The Lynx led by as many as 15 points Tuesday, but they had to hang on late after taking a one-point lead on Renee Montgomery’s three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer.
Atlanta center Elizabeth Williams scored on a putback with 4 minutes, 9 seconds remaining to pull the Dream within 75-72. It was her eighth offensive rebound of the game, after she had a total of five rebounds the previous two meetings with the Lynx.
With 3:05 to play, Seimone Augustus missed a jumper. Rebekkah Brunson grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled, but she missed both free throws. But Fowles then grabbed another offensive rebound and fed Brunson for a layup, giving the Lynx a 77-72 lead. Williams committed an offensive foul on the following possession, Augustus scored a floater and the Lynx held on from there, beating Atlanta for the ninth meeting in a row.
“We made some shots when they tried to get a couple key stops,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Brunson had a big play and Seimone had a big play. We had some big plays and big stops at the other end.”
Added forward Maya Moore, “In the end of the fourth we were able to get the stops we needed to close out the game.”
Fowles shot 7-for-8 from the floor and 13-for-16 from the free-throw line, and she added four blocks. She also became the 10th WNBA player with 2,500 career rebounds.
Moore added 16 points, and Montgomery, in her second start for the injured Lindsay Whalen, scored 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting to go along with six assists. Brunson had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Williams finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. Atlanta (10-16) outrebounded the Lynx 39-33, including 30-21 in the first three quarters, but shot only 36.5 percent from the floor.