ARLINGTON, TEXAS – After opening the WNBA season with four consecutive losses, the Lynx had a chance to climb to .500 for the first time on Saturday night with their second road victory over Dallas.
It didn't happen.
Guard Marina Mabrey, who struggled mightily for the Wings in the teams' first meeting two nights earlier, played perhaps her best game of the season as Dallas beat the Lynx 95-77.
The visitors trailed big early. Dallas (6-7) led by 15 points after the first quarter, by 20 at halftime and by 12 after the third.
Mabrey, who was scoreless in Dallas' 85-73 home loss to the Lynx on Thursday night, scored a game-high 28 points. Off the bench. She was averaging 15.5 points.
In the rematch, Mabrey was 5-for-8 on three-point attempts and made all five of her free throws.
"She was 0-for-8 last game. She obviously was a big factor," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, whose team had won four in a row and 16 of the past 17 games against the Wings.
"… Some fires were lit with them seeing some shots go down.
"The game got out of hand. Our offense didn't help us and they continued to make shots."
Also hot for the Wings was their other guard, Arike Ogunbowale, who had 16 points and was 4-for-5 on three-pointers.
Crystal Dangerfield and Napheesa Collier led the Lynx (5-7) with 17 points apiece. Kayla McBride, who had 22 points in the last game against Dallas, was held to 13 on 4-for-13 shooting.
Center Sylvia Fowles had eight points — she took only six shots — and seven rebounds following her 170th career double-double last game.
The Lynx shot 40.3% from the field and committed 14 turnovers — not a terribly bad number except that they led to 23 Dallas points.
Dallas shot 50% and was especially effective on threes, making 17 of 28 (60.7%).
"We didn't come out hard enough," Collier said. "… We allowed them to get going. We just dug ourselves such a big hole.
"When Arike and Marina see shots go down early, they get their confidence and their shots go down more."
Reeve said she expected a much tougher game from Dallas than their first meeting. And it was.
The Lynx led early 7-4 this time, but once Dallas got ahead in the first period, the Wings stayed in front. Dallas outrebounded the Lynx 40-26 and had nine steals to the Lynx's seven.
"They outpaced us the whole game," Reeve said. "… This game was their game."
With a third of the season done, Reeve said her team needs to find some physical toughness to go blow-for-blow with athletic teams like the Wings.
And the Lynx need to find more consistency. "We have to be able to string together wins," Collier said.