The road has been bumpy. Sylvia Fowles is the first to admit that. A bunch of expectations, inordinate amounts of attention on and off the court, constant pushing and shoving and elbows.
But it’s been fun, too. And Friday, after she made 12 of 13 shots, scored 27 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and tied her career high with five assists in a 110-87 blowout of Chicago at Xcel Energy Center, the Lynx center felt ready to submit her bid.
“I like the résumé I’ve put forward,’’ she said.
She was talking about the WNBA MVP award. Fowles might have punched her ticket on a night when the Lynx offense was amazingly efficient.
Not surprisingly, the Lynx think so. As Fowles was talking postgame, Renee Montgomery — who scored a season-high 21 points herself — chanted “MVP’’ as she walked through the locker room.
Sporting a rather wild hairdo she was certain would draw poor reviews from her mother, and under orders from Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve to think less and react more, Fowles played a darn-near perfect game. She passed brilliantly out of double-teams while picking up five first-half assists. Then she scored 17 points in the second half.
“Our defense was sharp,’’ Chicago coach Amber Stocks said. “But her force was relentless.’’
Same could be said of the entire team Friday as the Lynx (26-7) remained one game ahead of Los Angeles in the race for the best record in the league and the top playoff seed. The Lynx finish the regular season Sunday at home against Washington, their fate in their hands; Minnesota has to finish ahead of Los Angeles to get the top seed, as the Sparks won the season series between the two teams.
But, while scoring 100 points for the third consecutive home game, the Lynx offense was relentless. And record-breaking.
Minnesota set a WNBA record with 35 assists. They came on 45 made field goals, which is a franchise record. Five Lynx players had at least five assists, the first time that’s happened in WNBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Lynx shot 67.2 percent, the second-highest total in league history behind the record of 69.5 the Lynx shot at Tulsa in 2012.
Maya Moore scored 20 points with nine assists and seven rebounds. She was 4-for-7 on three-pointers, the fourth giving her 461 for her career, moving her past Katie Smith for most in team history. Seimone Augustus scored 11.
Montgomery, Fowles and Moore were a combined 27-for-37 for 68 points, 19 assists and six steals.
“We knew it, we felt it,’’ Moore said. “We didn’t know we were setting records, but we knew we were playing well. … It was a really fun night.’’
It certainly was for Fowles. Friday morning the Lynx announced she had signed a multiyear contract extension. At night she celebrated with 30-plus minutes of stellar play that left her averaging 19.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 66 percent for the season.
That’s a résumé.
“We’re all convinced,’’ Moore said. “Because of what she’s been doing on the best team is pretty unbelievable.’’
Said Fowles: “I tried not to think about it much throughout the season. But as we start winding down, it’s on the top of your head. I must say, it has not been easy. But I’m loving the journey I’m taking.’’