Aerial Powers scored 18 points and the Minnesota Lynx rallied from an eight-point, fourth-quarter deficit to stop the New York Liberty 84-78 in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.
Powers made just 3 of 13 shots, but the final one was a 13-footer with 1:03 left that gave Minnesota (2-6) an 80-77 lead. Kayla McBride, who added 15 points, converted four free throws in the final 15.9 seconds to seal the outcome.
Sylvia Fowles contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds, while Moriah Jefferson finished with 12 points. The Lynx canned just 37.1 percent of their field goal tries, but they were 27 of 33 at the foul line. Powers and McBride combined to make 19 of 22 free throws.
Natasha Howard scored a game-high 23 points for New York (1-5) and Rebecca Allen added 21. Han Xu came off the bench to tally 11 and Sabrina Ionescu chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
The Liberty weren’t able to hang on to a 71-63 lead in the final eight minutes, enduring a four-minute scoring drought that helped launch Minnesota’s comeback. They also made just 9 of 32 3-pointers and lost the rebounding battle 45-39.
New York’s second-leading scorer, Betnijah Laney, sat out with a knee injury.
In a matchup of struggling teams looking for something positive to happen, Minnesota came out smoking in the first quarter. It scored on seven of its first eight possessions and rolled up a 34-23 lead.
But the Lynx experienced a predictable regression to the mean that allowed New York to whittle a 12-point deficit down to one possession. Howard’s putback capped a 17-point half and brought the Liberty within 45-42 at the break.
After Minnesota boosted its lead to 56-48 midway through the third quarter, on Kayla McBride’s 3-pointer, New York rattled off a 10-2 run to even the score. Then it grabbed its first lead on Allen’s 3-pointer at the 1:45 mark and took a 65-63 edge to the fourth period.
–Field Level Media