When it comes to the national conversation about the best players in the WNBA, it’s not often that Sylvia Fowles is mentioned.
“I know that no one does exactly the things I do,” she said. “So, when you have that brain, you can’t really think about what people are talking about or what they’re not talking about.”
It bothered her, but the 14-year-old veteran is satisfied with what she plays after the game.
“It still doesn’t stop me from doing the things that I do. So, either you recognize it now or you are going to recognize it later,” she said.
But up to the level of Tuesday’s performance?
Fouls scored 29 points and scored a season-high 20 rebounds as the Lynx beat Seattle 76–70.
He also had four burglaries and three blocks. He neither fouled nor turned the ball in about 37 minutes, which included every second of the last two quarters.
Fouls is the first player in league history to have more than 20 points, more than 20 rebounds in a game with at least three steals and blocks.
“Thank God for Sylvia Foules,” said coach Cheryl Reeve. “…to say we needed every bit of it would be an understatement. He had to put the team on his back several times on both ends of the floor.”
Fouls is the fourth player in league history with 25/20 games. Candace Parker (2013), Tina Charles (2010) and Chamik Holdskala (2002) are others.
And 20 rebounds tie a franchise record. His 17 defensive rebounds are a single-game franchise record.
“Twenty rebounds is absolutely insane,” said Nafisa Collier. “She never ceases to amaze me. She breaks records every time we have a game. It’s unbelievable.”
It was the seventh time fouls had recorded a double-double in the first half of a game, the second highest ever. Charles did it eight times.
Reeve said it would be “a ridicule” for Fouls not to win his fourth WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. He was also honored in 2011, 2013 and 2016.
“I think the one who misses out is the fans. I think our league has pretty much curtailed Sylvia Foules’ career. We hear about a lot of other players and I’m sure ESPN is in this game. Wanted to love the Seattle all-stars,” Reeve said.
While fouls were impressive throughout, the rest of the Lynx (15–9) lacked consistency.
“We don’t make Cob’s life easy,” Reeve said.
Players named Fowles were 18 out of 49 off the field; However, they were 5 for 12 in the fourth quarter.
It was a pair of plays from Demiris Dantas and Collier that cemented the win and ended an 11-game losing streak for Seattle, including the playoffs.
For the second time, Seattle moved to within a point in the fourth quarter, but a 3-pointer by Dantas – his lone basket of the night – followed by a foul block from Jewel Lloyd and a 3-pointer by Collier made it 71. -64 2:05 to play with.
“I was a little slow to come back, but our guards did a good job of jamming them up. … until I saw him coming, ‘I was like, this is your moment. Either she’s going to shoot at you or you have to contest without dishonesty,'” Fowles said. “I jumped in just enough time to get my fingers on him, got the ball to Lecia (Clarendon) and transitioned back to the other end.”
There, Collier scored on the turnaround to make it 71-64 and Dantas caught a late rebound to secure the win.
Seven of Collier’s 18 points came in the final 2:05. He also had five rebounds in the game.
She and Bridget Carlton defended Brenna Stewart, who overcame a slow start to lead Seattle (18-8) with 18 points and 16 rebounds. However, he made only six out of 23 shots.
The game can be seen as a measuring stick for the team that has won 11 out of 14 and is fourth in the league standings. All goals except four of them were played away from the centre, meaning the Lynx have had five of their last eight games at home, where they are now 8–3.
“We’re a team that there’s really no talk of a contender. … We thought maybe tonight would be a chance for us to squeeze the story a little bit,” Reeve said.
“We know how special we are,” Collier said.