INDIANAPOLIS – This is not the start to the second half of the WNBA season that the Lynx wanted.
Following a 10-day layoff, the Lynx returned to action by blowing a 20-point lead and losing 86-75 to the Indiana Fever on Saturday night before an announced 7,884 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Lynx led 43-23 in the second quarter, making the 20 points the largest blown lead in team history. They lost their fourth game in a row to fall below .500 at 10-11.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome,” said Lynx reserve Temi Fagbenle, who scored 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting. “Props to Indiana for fighting back and pulling out the win. We weren’t able to secure it even though we had a huge lead.”
The Lynx jumped out to an 11-2 lead, then scored 18 points in a row early in the second quarter to lead 41-21. But the Fever (8-15), which entered the day with the WNBA’s worst home record at 3-8, pulled within 48-38 at halftime, then stormed ahead with a dominating 29-11 third quarter, when Indiana started four reserves after the break.
“We got outscored 15 to 5 to end the second quarter,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Obviously, their second group, their bench was the tale of the game scoring 55 points, led by Kelsey [Mitchell] who played great. That’s the story.”
Kelsey Mitchell scored 20 points off the bench for Indiana, while starter Tiffany Mitchell added 17.
Sylvia Fowles scored 17 points and rookie Napheesa Collier scored 14, but the Lynx were hurt by 21 turnovers.
“The difference between the first and second half was our turnovers,” Fowles said.
Said Reeve of the Fever: “They had a will about them. As I told our group, that’s a team that wants to be in the playoffs and still has a chance to be in the playoffs.”
INDIANA 86, LYNX 75 Tuesday: 6 p.m. at Atlanta (no TV)