Lynx’s late rally comes up just short in 91-85 loss to Aces – Twin Cities

For a brief moment Friday night at Target Center it looked as though Rachel Banham was going to rescue the Lynx from a night to forget against the Las Vegas Aces.

The backup point guard gave the Lynx a spark in the first half after a horrible start found them down double digits in the first quarter and kept draining 3s and making hustle plays down the stretch to bring her team back from the dead.

When she hit a pair of free throws with 5:54 to play, the Lynx had their first lead of the night at 76-75. Moments later, her sixth 3-pointer of the game tied it at 79-79. But a 7-0 run by the Aces followed, and they coasted to a 91-85 victory.

“We just didn’t get enough stops,” Banham said after the Lynx fell to 6-15. “They’re a very good offensive team, and we knew that coming into it. We just have to make it harder for them, dictate a little more.”

Still, on a night when coach Cheryl Reeve said she had too many starters not playing up to their abilities, Banham almost pulled it out. She led the Lynx with 24 points, making six of her eight 3-point attempts.

“I was just trying to stay aggressive,” she said. “Cheryl told me to stay aggressive, especially on the ball screens. If they’re going to go under, obviously I am going to shoot the 3. So just let it fly.

“I didn’t shoot it well the last couple games so it felt good to go out there and be aggressive and not think about it.”

Reeve also praised Banham for playing well defensively. “Rachel was special for us,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get it done after doing that.”

Moriah Jefferson added 20 for the Lynx. Point guard Chelsea Gray led the Aces with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum had 18 points and 10 assists.

Reeve gave credit to the Aces (16-5), who are one of the best teams in the league, but she was unhappy with what she got from her starters.

“We created a five-minute game, which is what you hope for,” Reeve said. “We had some players playing heavy minutes in that second half because we just had too many players that just didn’t play well.

“Five-minute games, what it comes down to is your ability to get stops and to execute. We just weren’t tough enough in the last five minutes.”

The first five minutes of the game might have been the difference. The Lynx fell behind 6-0 in the first 2½ minutes, leading Reeve to call a timeout. Sylvia Fowles got the Lynx on the board soon after, but the Aces went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-2 lead. The Lynx made only one of their first 10 shots.

“It’s hard to beat good teams when you dig a hole like we did,” Jefferson said. “We didn’t do a good job of getting stops and they were better at making their shots when they were open.”

The Lynx are 0-3 against the Aces this season. The teams meet again on Sunday at Target Center.

“It’ll be the fourth time we are playing them,” Reeve said. “We’ve given up 90-something every time. We’ll see if we can unlock the path to winning.”

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