On the day Rebekkah Brunson’s No. 32 jersey was raised to the rafters of Target Center, the Lynx did their best to tear the building’s roof off.
Playing their best game of the season, getting a career game from Aerial Powers and balanced scoring up and down the roster, the Lynx took it to Las Vegas, knocking the Aces out of first place in the process in a 102-71 victory.
Powers scored a career-high 32 points with six rebounds and four assists, scoring 14 points in a blistering first quarter that ended with the Lynx up 18.
To be honest, Las Vegas (15-6), which beat the Lynx here Friday, never really got back into the game. Because each time the Aces looked ready to make it a game, the Lynx responded.
They scored the final five points of the first half after Las Vegas had cut the lead to nine. When the Aces pulled within 13 in the third, the Lynx ended the quarter 11-1.
And that was enough for Aces coach Becky Hammond, who raised the white flag by starting the fourth with her starters on the bench.
It was the Aces most lopsided loss of the season, the fewest points they’ve scored, the most they’ve allowed.
The Lynx? Powers, Moriah Jefferson (13 points) and Rachel Banham (13) were in double figures. But 10 players scored, the Lynx got another 34 points from the bench. Minnesota dominated on the boards and played outstanding defense, holding the Aces to 36.8-percent shooting.
But this one belonged to Powers. She followed her 14-point first with another five in the second, six in the third and seven in the forth before sitting the final 5:51 of the fourth on the bench.
The Lynx had a 52-26 rebounding edge and matched their season high with 12 made threes.
Kelsey Plum led the Aces with 12 points.
In a reversal of Friday’s game, it was the Lynx that got the big start, scoring the first 13 points, a run that ended with three free throws by Powers.
Powers was amazing in the quarter, hitting four of five shots and five of six free throw while scoring 14 of Minnesota’s 30 points.
After taking that early 13-point lead, the Lynx never let the Aces closer than seven the rest of the quarter. Up 24-15, the Lynx ended the quarter 9-0, capped by Jefferson’s three-pointer, to go up 33-15 entering the second. All five Lynx starters scored in the quarter while the Aces were held to 6-for-17 shooting.
Not surprisingly, Las Vegas pushed back in the second quarter. When Riquna Williams hit a three-pointer with 2:37 left in the half what had been a 20-point lead early in the second quarter was down to 44-35.
But the Lynx responded with a 5-0 run to end the quarter, with Powers scoring three of them, giving her 19 points at the half.
That lead was down to 13 on Plum’s three-point play with 2:33 left in the third quarter. But, as happened much of the game, the Lynx responded.
It started with McBride. She had a nice pass to Natalie Achonwa for an easy layup. After a stop, McBride fed an open Rachel Banham for a three. That was the start of an 11-1 run to end the quarter – which also included three free throws by Banham and a corner three by Bridget Carleton – that had the Lynx up 23, 78-55, entering the fourth.