INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Lindsay Whalen had 23 points and Monica Wright added 22 points and nine rebounds as the Minnesota Lynx beat the Indiana Fever 69-62 in a rematch of last season’s WNBA finals Thursday afternoon.
The Fever (4-8) made runs at the Lynx (10-3), but never managed to catch them. Indiana cut the lead to 46-45 late in the third quarter, but Minnesota answered with a 6-0 run to push the margin back to seven.
“Every time we play Indiana, it’s a grind,” Wright said. “They’re a very disciplined team with a lot of great players. Every single player on the floor is capable of scoring at any time, so they made it difficult for us defensively.”
Wright has scored 44 points in the last two games since moving into the starting lineup in place of the injured Seimone Augustus. Wright was aggressive from the start. She scored 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first quarter and finished 9-of-19 from the field.
“We never have to tell Moni to be aggressive. That’s just her everyday life, that just what she does,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “She’s not doing anything different than if she was coming off the bench. That’s nice for us. We basically have six starters.”
Indiana was playing without star guard Katie Douglas, who missed her 10th consecutive game with a bulging disk in her back. The Fever had won three consecutive games.
Shavonte Zellous led the Fever with 14 points. It was a struggle all around for Indiana offensively against a Minnesota defense that keyed on Zellous and Tamika Catchings.
The Fever shot just 34 percent from the field (21-of-61), and Catchings was held to nine points on 2-of-10 shooting. The Fever star forward was rarely given open lanes to the basket.
“Our defensive effort was outstanding,” Reeve said. “It’s carried us. It’s not very often that you hold Catchings the way that we did.”
Added Fever coach Lin Dunn: “We defended well enough, we rebounded well enough, we just didn’t knock down the shots we needed to knock down.”
Rebekkah Brunson, who defended Catchings most of the game, added 11 points for Minnesota. Maya Moore had nine points.