Kayla McBride scored 24 points and Tiffany Mitchell made the game-winning layup with three seconds remaining to lift the Minnesota Lynx to their first win of the season, an 80-78 victory over the host Washington Mystics on Saturday.
Mitchell had her initial layup attempt blocked by Washington’s Brittney Sykes, who tied the game at 78 with a 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds left, but regathered possession and dropped in the winning bucket.
Mitchell finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Lynx (1-6), who avoided matching the franchise’s longest losing streak to begin a season. The 2007 team lost its first seven games en route to a 10-24 season.
Napheesa Collier added 17 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, while Jessica Shepard chipped in 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. Rookie Dorka Juhasz supplied seven points and eight boards.
Sykes finished with eight points for the Mystics (3-3), who were led by Ariel Atkins’ 18. Natasha Cloud contributed 14 points, as did Shakira Austin, who grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Elena Delle Donne scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half and finished with under 20 points for the first time in four games.
The Lynx entered the fourth quarter ahead 61-51 but committed three straight turnovers in a 39-second span. Those turnovers led to the final seven points of a 16-4 Washington run to even the score at 67-67 with 5:03 remaining. Shepard scored six straight points to give the Minnesota a 77-71 lead at the 1:40 mark, only for the Mystics to counter with their 7-1 surge capped by Sykes’ clutch trey.
McBride scored 12 of her 24 points during the third quarter as the Lynx seemingly seized control after Washington took a 48-43 lead with 4:11 left in the stanza. Her 3-pointer at the 2:50 mark in the third ignited a 15-3 Minnesota surge to close out the quarter.
Both teams drained 28 field goals and nine 3-pointers, with the Lynx’s 15-13 advantage in made free throws providing the difference.
The Mystics threatened to pull away with five straight points to begin the second quarter, but Minnesota thrived from beyond the arc to flip the stanza on its head.
Rachel Banham hit a pair of treys within a minute to put the Lynx back in front before McBride and Juhasz each drained a triple, both of which stretched the Minnesota lead to six.
Collier followed Juhasz’s jumper with a layup that gave the Lynx their largest lead of the half at 37-29. Minnesota finished the second quarter 4-for-9 on 3-pointers to cap a 6-for-14 performance from deep in the first half, which ended with the Lynx ahead, 39-32.
–Field Level Media