After the game, flanked by Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve talked about her 1-2 punch, her dynamic duo, her Batman and Robin.
Then, a pause.
After the Lynx rebounded from a 30-point loss in Game 1 of their first-round WNBA playoff series against Connecticut to win 82-75 Sunday in Uncasville, Conn., after the Lynx had forced a decisive Game 3 at Target Center on Wednesday night, after Collier and McBride had combined to score 66% of the team's points, Reeve was at a momentary loss.
Which is Batman, which is Robin?
"Their chemistry, their synergy," Reeve said. And then: "From 0-6 to 40 minutes away from the semifinals in the playoffs? What else can you ask for?"
How about a team that did a complete 180 in just about everything that went wrong in Game 1? In that game, Connecticut had a 30-9 edge on points off turnovers, 12-3 on second-chance points, 36-32 on rebounding. Sunday? It went 20-6 for the Sun, and 15-5 and 35-30 for the Lynx. On Wednesday, the Sun went 16-for-30 on three-pointers; on Sunday, they were 7-for-20.
And then, the dynamic duo.
Reeve promised the team would be better and Collier would rebound from a difficult opener. Collier had 26 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two steals. She recovered from a suddenly sore lower back in the third quarter to lead the Lynx in scoring in the fourth.
McBride had career playoff highs in points (28) and three-pointers (six) to go with eight rebounds. It was her nine points in a 14-1 run that put the Lynx up 16 in the third, her energy and defense that made the difference after Connecticut got within two in the fourth.
"I'll take these two any day of the week," Reeve said.
To Collier, she had no choice but to improve. "The mentality was, leave it all on the court," she said. "This is such a special group of women I'm playing with this year. I want to give them my all, and I expect the same from them. We knew if we could bring it back to Minny we have a really good chance."
Said McBride: "It was just a will. It didn't feel very good, sitting up here the other day knowing we only scored 60 points. We needed to pick up our aggression and kind of throw caution to the wind."
Getting solid performances from Dorka Juhász (six points, five rebounds, six assists), Diamond Miller and Tiffany Mitchell (five points each), as well as key play from the bench, the Lynx led by seven when Collier stepped wrong and felt something in her lower back.
With her getting treatment, the Sun pulled within three when Alyssa Thomas (26 points) hit two free throws with 6:06 left in the third.
Collier returned, and the Lynx took off. Bridget Carleton hit a three, then McBride scored nine of the next 11 Lynx points, her layup with 3:01 left in the third putting the Lynx up 16.
"It was really sharp in the moment," Collier said of her back pain. "I knew it was something I could push through. I'll push through anything to be out there."
Led by Thomas, the Sun responded with a 14-0 run over the next 4½ minutes to draw within two with 8:29 left in the game.
The Lynx would not crack. Carleton hit a three to end the Sun's streak. Up three a few moments later, McBride hit a three to double her team's lead. Up three with 4:01 left, the Lynx scored nine of the next 12 points, going up nine on Rachel Banham's 19-footer with 55.1 seconds left.
Thomas was held to a relatively small eight rebounds. DeWanna Bonner scored 24 points and made six of 10 threes, but the rest of the Sun went 1-for-10 from behind the arc.
Reeve talked about Collier accepting her role as the team's superstar. She described McBride as the team's "resident will." And now, capes or not, the dynamic duo and the rest of the Lynx team are headed back to Minnesota.
"I can't wait," Collier said. "I can't wait for this Game 3. I know it's going to be so much fun to play at Minny, to do it in front of our fans."
The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.