Tuesday night, in the Lynx locker room after an uncharacteristic performance in a loss to last-place Indiana, one player appeared to take the loss the hardest:
Center Sylvia Fowles.
The reigning regular-season and WNBA finals MVP answered questions with her voice cracking and a tear in her eye. This isn’t surprising. Anyone who knows Fowles knows how much she cares, especially when it comes to delivering for her teammates in difficult situations.
And so it was hard for Fowles. Very hard.
“I have a hard time coming down after a game anyway,’’ Fowles said after shootaround this morning.
So it was a difficult night for Fowles. But, after watching film of the game on Wednesday, and after a long discussion with assistant coach James Wade (“He’s kind of my go-to guy,’’ Fowles explained), Fowles felt better. The tape showed some bad things, to be sure. But it was, frankly, encouraging to Fowles, because she saw things she could adjust. And that just makes her more eager to face arch-rival Los Angeles in tonight’s game at Target Center.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was,’’ said Fowles, who scored just eight points – her first game this season not in double figures – on 4-for-12 shooting with three turnovers vs. Indiana. “But when you’re out there, and things aren’t going your way, of course it feels bad. So, we have some things to correct. And they are correctable.’’
Maya Moore also had an off-night, scoring nine points on 3-for-15 shooting. It was the only time since Fowles joined the team mid-way through the 2015 season that both failed to score in double figures in the same game.
“It’s going back to basics,’’ Fowles said. “And that’s the beauty of our league. There is always another game. The next game. Yeah, we had a bad game. Maya couldn’t knock down shots, I couldn’t knock down shots. But we also know we probably won’t play that way again this season.’’
For Moore, it’s about staying connected with her teammates rather than trying to change things on her own. “It’s about where you put your focus when you’re trying to bounce back,’’ Moore said. “We have a great culture here. We know the details we have to lock in on.’’
It’s a big game tonight for a lot of reasons. The Sparks won the first two games vs. the Lynx this season. That means the Lynx have to win tonight to keep alive the possibility of a season split, which could become a key tie-breaking element for seeding at the end of the season.
The team also wants to bounce back from it’s most frustrating night of the season, a loss that ended the team’s seven-game winning streak.
Here are some other newsy items:
---Moore leads all vote-getters in the early returns of fan All-Star Game voting released by the league today.
Moore has received 25,496 votes, just ahead of No. 2 Elena Delle Donne of Washington.
The game will be held July 28 at Target Center, hosted by the Lynx.
Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird round out the top five. You have to get into the second five to see some of the league’s real youngsters:
Breanna Stewart (19,354 ) is sixth, followed by A’ja Wilson.
Among other Lynx players, Fowles (17,843) is eighth, Seimone Augustus (12,145) is 12th, Lindsay Whalen (9,889) is 13th and Rebekkah Brunson (8,940) is 18th. Cecilia Zandalasini also got some votes – 3,452 – and is 35th
Fan voting ends July 12.
After all votes are tallied, players will be ranked within each of the four voting groups: Fans, players, coaches and media. The 22 players with the highest overall score will form the player pool, which will be announced July 17. Shortly thereafter, the two captains will meet to draft the two 11-player teams. The final rosters will be announced on ESPN2’s telecast of the Washington-Dallas game July 19.
Here are the first-return voting totals:
- Maya Moore (MIN) 25,496
- Elena Delle Donne (WAS) 24,152
- Candace Parker (LA) 21,136
- Diana Taurasi (PHX) 20,460
- Sue Bird (SEA) 20,362
- Breanna Stewart (SEA) 19,354
- A’ja Wilson (LV) 18,768
- Sylvia Fowles (MIN) 17,843
- Skylar Diggins-Smith (DAL) 16,177
- Nneka Ogwumike (LA) 16,103
- Brittney Griner (PHX) 15,386
- Seimone Augustus (MIN) 12,145
- Lindsay Whalen (MIN) 9,889
- Jewell Loyd (SEA) 9,818
- Chiney Ogwumike (CON) 9,452
- Chelsea Gray (LA) 9,403
- Tina Charles (NY) 9,268
- Rebekkah Brunson (MIN) 8,940
- Liz Cambage (DAL) 8,680
- Alana Beard (LA) 6,458
- Natasha Howard (SEA) 6,315
- DeWanna Bonner (PHX) 6,005
- Angel McCoughtry (ATL) 5,672
- Kayla McBride (LV) 5,524
- Victoria Vivians (IND) 5,420
- Kristi Toliver (WAS) 5,061
- Kia Nurse (NY) 4,998
- Odyssey Sims (LA) 4,772
- Gabby Williams (CHI) 4,467
- Allisha Gray (DAL) 4,235
- Diamond DeShields (CHI) 4,186
- Tiffany Hayes (ATL) 4,120
- Candice Dupree (IND) 4,078
- Jonquel Jones (CON) 3,514
- Cecilia Zandalasini (MIN) 3,452
- Alyssa Thomas (CON) 3,281
- Allie Quigley (CHI) 3,233
- Kelsey Plum (LV) 3,196
- Jasmine Thomas (CON) 3,155
- Kelsey Mitchell (IND) 3,134
---Meanwhile, Lynetta Kizer was back in uniform this morning after signing a seven-day contract with the team. Kizer was waived last week on the deadline, after which her non-guaranteed contract would have become guaranteed.