BRADENTON, Fla. — Rachel Banham scored 29 points and Napheesa Collier added 23 as the Minnesota Lynx rode a defensively dominant third quarter to a 98-86 win over the Indiana Fever on Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Lynx (14-8) led by a point at halftime but extended their advantage to 13 over a stretch lasting almost five minutes of the third quarter, during which the Fever scored just one point.
With the win, the Lynx snapped a three-game losing skid and locked up the No. 4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs.
Leading scorers Banham and Collier both shot 10-of-14 from the floor, while Banham went a blistering 7-of-8 from behind the 3-point line. Banham added a game-high 10 assists.
Banham paced Minnesota on a red-hot 59.1 percent shooting from long range (13 of 22). Damiris Dantas, who posted an all-around strong line of 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists, shot 3 of 5 from deep.
Minnesota's efficient scoring was a byproduct of clean ball movement. The Lynx scored 29 field goals on assists, while committing just nine turnovers.
Indiana (6-16), which missed the playoffs, committed 12 turnovers while assisting on 27 buckets.
The Fever's more vexing issues on Saturday were a 34.6 percent (9 of 26) shooting effort from 3-point range — well off the torrid pace Minnesota set — and the third-quarter drought.
Kelsey Mitchell led Indiana with 20 points, while Tiffany Mitchell added 14 points off the bench. Candice Dupree scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Julie Allemand finished with 11 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
Minnesota will turn its attention to the opening round of the playoffs and a matchup with Phoenix. The teams split regular-season meetings, with Minnesota winning 90-80 on Aug. 21, and the Mercury getting the 83-79 victory on Aug. 30. Phoenix had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Friday against Seattle.
Minnesota finishes the regular season a game behind Los Angeles for the No. 3 seed.