Atlanta - The Lynx ended a four-game losing streak with an 85-69 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night in a game that marked the season debut of veteran guard Seimone Augustus. She had been out because of a right knee injury.
She played well — scoring eight points and dishing out four assists in almost 21½ minutes — but it was rookie forward Napheesa Collier who made the difference. She had 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting, 11 rebounds and five assists.
A reverse layup by Collier, the WNBA rookie of the month for July, put the Lynx (11-11) ahead 65-64 just over three minutes into the fourth quarter. Collier, who had just four points at halftime, also scored the next eight points in a 15-0 run that gave the Lynx a 75-64 lead.
“We just started running our offense a lot better [in the second half],” Collier said. “… We know how good we are, especially when we play together.”
“We needed those big points [Collier] made coming down the stretch,” Augustus said. “She made some key baskets, some key plays late into the fourth.
“I’m glad to see her playing well, obviously we want to keep her there. Normally rookies hit that rookie wall right around this time, but it seems like she’s kind of up on the up-and-up so, if we keep her there [and] everyone else kind of raises their level of play, it’s looking good for us.”
An in-game position switch got Collier going.
“[Her] moving to the power forward was big for us,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I think [we went on] a 40-15 run when she moved to the four. So she had a little confidence there. Made a big three [when] we were dead in the water.”
Lynx center Sylvia Fowles had 12 points and 11 rebounds — her 160th double-double, adding to her WNBA record total.
Fowles also had one block, becoming the fourth player in league history with 600.
Atlanta (5-18) has lost eight games in a row — its last victory was over the Lynx 60-53 at home July 12.
The score was tied 41-all at halftime. The highlight for the visitors, though, was the return of Augustus, who had an arthroscopic procedure May 30. She started the game — as she has 358 games over 13 past seasons.
“It was a great game tonight,” Augustus said. “Obviously for myself I just had to get back, game flow is a little bit different from practice.”
Her eight points moved her into 10th place on the WNBA career scoring list with 5,844.