This was not a difficult decision, for either side. Sylvia Fowles has always wanted to be here; she sat out half of the 2015 season in order to get to Minnesota. And the Lynx definitely want their MVP-contending center to be around for a while.
So, to nobody’s surprise, the two sides have agreed on a multi-year contract extension. It was announced Friday morning.
“It’s nice to be back,’’ Fowles said after the team's morning shootaround. The Lynx host the Chicago Sky tonight at 7 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. “It’s nice for them to install that confidence in wanting me back and my fitting in how I fit in. It definitely means a lot. But it was a no-brainer. I wanted to be here. And this is where I plan on being until I’m done.’’
Acquired in a trade at the All Star break in 2015, Fowles ended that season as the WNBA finals MVP after the Lynx beat Indiana in five games.
Always one of the league’s best players, Fowles has had a very strong season this summer, averaging 19.1 points on 65-percent shooting. She also is averaging 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. She is second in the league in field goal accuracy, fifth in scoring, second in rebounding and third in blocks.
She has double-doubles in 19 games.
And she has done it despite being a target of other teams, sometimes literally. She had her nose broken against San Antonio May 28 and has had it bloodied several times since by blows that have not resulted in foul calls.
“I broke it in the San Antonio game when I blocked the young rookie’s shot on the baseline and she directly hit me in the nose,’’ she said, referring to Stars player – and Minnesota native – Nia Coffey. “For a while, I was target-free. Then, in a 10-game span, I probably got hit five times.’’
Fowles experimented with a protective mask for a couple games, but has decided against using it, as a hit anywhere on the mask results in pain in her nose. The key now is for Fowles to stay healthy, and maybe start getting some calls if the hits continue.
“Maybe I have to fall some,’’ she joked. “I don’t know what I have to do. I don’t know how to flop. That’s the problem, I don’t know how to sell it.’’
Minnesota currently holds a one-game lead over Los Angeles for the WNBA's top playoff seed with two games to go. The Lynx need to finish ahead of Los Angeles to earn that seed, given the Sparks' 2-1 edge in head-to-head competition this season.