Finally, Sunday, it was Sylvia Fowles' turn.
Fowles has been here six games now, since a trade brought the 6-6 center to the Lynx from Chicago. She has played well at times as she felt her way with a team filled with All-Stars. But Sunday was the first time the Lynx won a game pretty much because Fowles wouldn’t let them lose.
In a 72-64 victory over a Sparks team that beat the Lynx by 22 in Los Angeles five days before, Fowles’ fourth-quarter play was the difference.
“It was good to see,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Good for her to feel that, to be counted on and to come through for us. It’s part of her evolution of getting her integrated into our group."
That could be a fancy way of saying that, finally comfortable with her team, Fowles has arrived.
The Sparks, down most of the night, pulled within a point on Kristi Tolliver’s three-pointer with 4:59 left in the game.
Moments later she took a pass from Asjha Jones and scored. After an L.A. miss, Maya Moore fed Fowles for a fast-break layup.
And the Lynx were off.
In a stretch of 3 minutes, 8 seconds, Fowles scored six points and had three rebounds. The stretch started with the Lynx up one. By the time Fowles grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in, the Lynx were up 67-60 with 1:32 left to play.
“Whew, that was a nice stretch for her,” said Lindsay Whalen, who had 10 points, one of four starters to score in double figures for the Lynx (16-6), who broke a two-game losing streak while at the same time ending the Sparks’ four-game winning streak. Moore finished with 20 points, Fowles had 15 points and nine rebounds and Rebekkah Brunson had 10.
“Having her inside to just calm down runs is really nice,” Moore said of Fowles. “When she catches the ball anywhere around the rim, you have to foul her or it’s going to be two points.’’
Fowles was not the only key performer. There were times when it seemed Moore was the only Lynx player who was scoring. Devereaux Peters scored five consecutive Lynx points early in the fourth quarter.
But this was why the Lynx traded for Fowles two weeks ago.
“Definitely the best three minutes I’ve had in a Lynx uniform,” Fowles said. “But a lot of credit goes to my teammates. They make sure they push me to my limits, staying in my ear. It feels good, especially coming to a new team.’’
Four Sparks starters were in double figures, too, led by Candace Parker, who had 18 points with 13 rebounds. Center Jantel Lavender had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Five days ago in their rout of the Lynx, the Sparks scored 54 points in the paint, outrebounded the Lynx and turned the ball over only seven times. Sunday the Lynx outscored L.A. 46-24 in the paint, had the edge in rebounds and held the Sparks to 38.7 percent shooting.
Still, because of their own offensive problems, the game was close. Minnesota had a fantastic first quarter, but the Sparks cut a 14-point lead to five by halftime and were within one after Toliver’s three-pointer.
Enter Fowles.
“We try to take our turn and have fun,” Fowles said.
Note: The Lynx wore pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness, then auctioned off the uniforms afterward to benefit that charity. Seimone Augustus’ jersey fetched $5,750. Moore got $4,000 for hers, Whalen $3,000.