McBride, Collier lead Lynx over Sun to force a deciding Game 3

Minnesota Lynx guard Kayla McBride instructs her teammates during a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Kayla McBride scored 28 points and Napheesa Collier added 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Minnesota Lynx beat the Connecticut Sun 82-75 on Sunday to force a deciding Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Alyssa Thomas scored 26 points and DeWanna Bonner added 24 for the No. 3 seeded Sun, who won the first game of the series by 30 points, but now must win a road game on Wednesday to advance.

“We love our fanbase and we do feel like that’s an advantage for us,” Collier said. , 

The Lynx led by six points at halftime and stretched that to 16 with the help of a 12-0 run in the third quarter, highlighted by the fifth of McBride’s six 3-pointers. Her layup made it 65-49.

But the Sun responded with a run of their own and trailed only by 65-60 headed into the fourth quarter. 

A 3-pointer from Bonner cut the lead to 76-73 with 2 1/2 minutes to play, but the Lynx made several big defensive stops and scored the next six points to put the game away.

Connecticut, which shot 16 for 30 from behind the arc in the Game 1, hit just seven of it 20 attempts on Sunday, while the Lynx, led by McBride, were 9 of 24. 

Both teams had injury scares in what was a physical game. 

Bonner had 18 points before taking an elbow to the nose late in the third quarter with the Sun trailing by five points. 

Collier also was injured earlier in that quarter and also spent a short time in the locker room after leaving the court holding her lower back. 

The No. 3 seed Sun are looking to advance to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season after winning a team record 27-games during the regular season in what many thought would be a rebuilding year under first-year coach Stephanie White, who was honored Sunday as the WNBA’s coach of the year.

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