Lynx center Sylvia Fowles has a nickname: Mama Syl.
This is a role she embraces, as the most seasoned veteran on a young Lynx team. From the season’s start, she has been more vocal than ever, tending to the kids, helping them along.
But, recently, she decided to start helping herself.
This is a good thing. Take Tuesday’s 93-85 victory over Chicago at Target Center, a back-and-forth game in which the Lynx bench failed to score a point while the five Lynx starters all played marvelously.
But none as good as Fowles.
Continuing to emerge on the other side of what had become a pretty difficult stretch, Fowles battled foul trouble but still scored a game-high 25 points with 12 rebounds and two blocks as the Lynx won their third straight game.
Third time’s a charm.
The victory — in front of 8,092 very loud fans who may have helped turn the game’s tide — clinched a playoff berth for the Lynx for the ninth straight season.
“I’m happy, I’m proud of our team,’’ said Fowles, who scored at nearly a point-a-minute pace. “We know what it takes to get going.’’
At this point they all do.
Tuesday’s victory for the Lynx (16-15) came against a Chicago team fighting for a first-round playoff bye that came in having won seven of nine games. That came on the heels of an impressive win over Las Vegas on Sunday. The Lynx finish their four-game homestand Sunday against Indiana.
Rookie Napheesa Collier had another strong game, with 19 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. She had a huge block on a Sky breakaway in the fourth, then a steal that lead to two free throws that put the Lynx up seven with 2:41 left.
Damiris Dantas hit three three-pointers, scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Odyssey Sims had 23 points and eight assists for her fourth 20-8 game this year.
And then, Fowles. The Lynx led by as many as 11 in the third and were still up nine when Fowles picked up her fourth foul and had to sit. By the time the quarter ended the Lynx were down two.
But she scored 10 points in the fourth.
“I had to look out for Syl,’’ Fowles said. “That may sound a little selfish.’’
Instead of seeing to others first, she saw to herself, and she has been her old self in the past three wins.
“I was making sure everybody got theirs, and it wasn’t working,’’ she said. “It took me a while to realize it.’’
The score was tied at 77 after Chicago’s Cheyenne Parker (22 points) scored with 6:16 left.
But then Sims hit a three-pointer. At the other end, with the roaring crowd on its feet, the Lynx forced a shot-clock violation. Out of a time out Danielle Robinson drove and scored. The Lynx were up five.
What better way to please Mama Syl than a victory like this? It was the third time in 14 tries that Lynx have won when trailing entering the fourth.
“What a great time for her to be playing the way she is,’’ Robinson said of Fowles. “Syl is a resilient player. We knew she’d bounce back, and she has.’’