Lynx force winner-take-all Game 3 against Sun

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. — The No. 6 seed Minnesota Lynx pressured a winner-take-all Recreation 3 of their first-round collection in opposition to the No. 3 Connecticut Solar with an 82-75 victory Sunday at Mohegan Solar Area.

Ahead Napheesa Collier (26 factors) and guard Kayla McBride (28 factors) spearheaded the trouble, changing into the primary pair of Lynx teammates to attain a minimum of 25 factors apiece in a playoff recreation; each marks had been additionally profession playoff highs.

The Solar lower the Lynx’s 16-point result in three late within the fourth, however Minnesota warded them off down the stretch to stave off elimination.

“We have been in opposed conditions all season and we have responded,” McBride mentioned. “Immediately was simply one other instance of that.”

After an 0-6 begin of their first season with out a member of their 2010s dynasty, the Lynx have a chance to win their first playoff collection since 2017, once they received their final WNBA title. Earlier than Sunday, the franchise hadn’t received a recreation in a playoff collection since then.

“From 0-6 to 40 minutes from the semifinals,” head coach Cheryl Reeve mentioned. “What extra might you ask for?”

Recreation 3 can be performed Wednesday in Minnesota — the best-of-three first-round collection is a 2-1 format with the upper seed internet hosting the primary two video games and the decrease seed internet hosting Recreation 3 if crucial — at a time to be introduced.

After a lackluster efficiency in Recreation 1 (14 factors), Collier rebounded with a 26-point, 13-rebound double-double regardless of coping with again ache that induced her to briefly depart for the locker room. She described the problem as a “pinched nerve or an SI joint, I believe it was … nothing that is going to harm you long-term however it sucks within the second.”

“I need to depart all of it on the market on the courtroom and do no matter I can for my crew,” mentioned Collier, an MVP candidate in her first full season again after giving start final spring. “It is such a particular group of girls that I am taking part in with this yr and so I need to give them my all and I count on the identical from them and I believe that is why we now have such an ideal crew.”

Tiffany Mitchell (ankle) and DeWanna Bonner (nostril) additionally left with accidents within the second half earlier than returning to complete the sport.

Connecticut faces their second first-round elimination recreation in two seasons; final yr en path to the WNBA Finals, they beat Dallas on the highway in a first-round winner-take-all Recreation 3.

“I believe the most important factor for us just isn’t letting what occurred at the moment [happen again],” mentioned Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas, who completed with 26 factors, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. “We did not come out able to play. We knew what was at stake. And now sadly we have to go play on their dwelling courtroom, which is a troublesome factor to do.”

Lynx gamers mentioned earlier than the sport that if they might steal a recreation on the highway Sunday, they’d have the benefit going into Recreation 3.

“If we play like this once more, we’re so arduous to beat and it is enjoyable to play that manner,” Collier mentioned. “So, I am unable to look ahead to the subsequent recreation.”

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