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WNBA: Lynx continue to surge, turn back slumping Liberty 75-66

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Kayla McBride scored 25 points and hit four key free throws in the final seconds, while Napheesa Collier added 21 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday night as the short-handed Minnesota Lynx won their third straight game, 74-66 over the visiting New York Liberty.

With Minnesota (16-9) ahead 68-66, McBride hit a pair of free throws with 21.7 seconds remaining and two more with 14.3 to go. Despite playing without star Sylvia Fowles (shoulder) and fellow starter Layshia Clarendon (lower leg) — and losing forward Damiris Dantas early in the third quarter with an apparent injury — the Lynx won for the 11th time in 13 games.

Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu each scored 17 for the Liberty (11-17), who have lost a season-high five straight and are clinging to the final playoff berth by percentage points.

New York entered averaging a WNBA-best 10.4 3-pointers, but went 5 of 24 from distance and shot 32.4 percent overall.

New York scored the first five points of the game, but Minnesota ended the back-and-forth opening quarter on a 7-0 run to lead 20-15.

McBride and Collier combined for all but 12 of Minnesota’s points as the Lynx took a 39-37 lead at halftime.

After Laney’s basket drew New York within 48-47 with 2:16 left in the third quarter, Collier and Minnesota surged. Successive buckets from Collier and Aerial Powers (10 points) gave the Lynx some breathing room (52-47), and Minnesota scored the final five points of the quarter: Powers’ traditional three-point play and a Collier basket off an offensive rebound to give the Lynx a 57-49 lead entering the final period.

Minnesota led by as many as nine early in the fourth, but New York clawed its way back and twice got within two points — 65-63 via Ionescu’s 3-point basket with 1:32 to play and 68-66 on three free throws by Michaela Onyenwere (11 points, 10 rebounds).

Yet, McBride’s key free throws put the game away for the hosts.

–Field Level Media

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