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Fever fend off Lynx in back-and-forth affair

Oct 10, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; A view of the offical game ball during the second half of game one of the 2021 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Victoria Vivians canned a 3-pointer with 1:29 left Sunday night to put the Indiana Fever ahead for good as they rallied for an 84-80 win over the Minnesota Lynx in a battle of the WNBA’s worst teams in Minneapolis.

Vivians also made a key contribution on defense, blocking a Jessica Shepard layup attempt on Minnesota’s next possession that led to a jump ball that saw Indiana win possession. The Fever (4-12) sealed the outcome when Kelsey Mitchell hit two free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining and Danielle Robinson added one with 5.8 seconds left.

Rookie NaLyssa Smith led four Indiana players in double figures with 21 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Robinson scored 16 points and dished out six assists, while Mitchell and Vivians each added 15 points.

The Lynx (3-11) lost despite a game-high 23 points off the bench from Nikolina Milic, who hit 11 of 19 shots from the field. Aerial Powers stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Bridget Carleton and Moriah Jefferson each scored 11 points.

Minnesota played its second straight game without center Sylvia Fowles (knee), and she was missed. Indiana hit 47.1 percent from the field, including 10 of 23 from the 3-point line, in beating the Lynx for the second time this year.

Robinson got the Fever out to a 14-6 lead just over five minutes into the game by canning a short jumper, but Minnesota controlled the rest of the period. Rachel Banham made a 3-pointer with 21.1 seconds left for a 23-22 edge after a quarter.

It was tied at 32-32 with 3:20 remaining in the first half when Indiana took charge with a big run. It went on an 11-2 burst, capped by Mitchell’s layup, and went on to take a 43-36 advantage into intermission.

The Lynx made a big move in the third quarter with a 15-4 run, polished off by Powers’ floater, to grab a 63-57 lead. They led 65-62 entering the fourth.

–Field Level Media