Any thought that the Lynx would carry momentum from their lopsided win on Tuesday into Friday night’s game against Las Vegas at Target Center was quickly dismissed.
After falling behind by double digits in the opening minutes, the Lynx never could recover, losing to the Aces 91-85.
The teams met for the third time this season, with the Aces winning the first two games in Las Vegas, 96-95 on June 19 and 93-87 on May 19. They will play again on Sunday at Target Center.
To their credit, the Lynx (6-15), who were coming off a 92-64 win over Dallas, made a game of it, but the Aces (15-5) had an answer for every push the Lynx could come up with.
The Lynx took their first lead of the game at 76-75 with 5:54 to play when Rachel Banham hit a pair of free throws. But it proved to be the Lynx’s only lead.
A Banham 3-pointer would tie the game at 79-79, but the Aces went on a 7-0 run to regain control.
Banham came off the bench to lead the Lynx with 24 points. She made six of her eight 3-point attempts. Moriah Jefferson added 20 for the Lynx. Point guard Chelsea Gray led the Aces with 21 points on 10 of 12 shooting.
The Lynx fell behind 6-0 in the first two and a half minutes, leading coach Cheryl Reeve to call a timeout. Sylvia Fowles got the Lynx on the board soon after, but the Aces went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-2 lead. The Lynx made only one of their first 10 shots.
The Lynx used the 3-point shot to climb back into the game before the end of the quarter. Banham, Damiris Dantas and Jefferson all connected from long range as the Lynx trailed 19-13 after one quarter.
The Lynx pulled within two points three times in the second quarter, including at 33-31 with just over three minutes to play in the half. But the Aces built their lead back up to seven at 38-31, with Reeve calling her second timeout.
The Aces closed the first half on a 13-2 run to take a 46-33 lead into the locker room. The Lynx shot 35.9 percent in the half to the Aces’ 59.4 percent. Las Vegas shot 54.5 percent from 3-point range on 6 of 11 shooting.
The Lynx were never able to get any traction until late in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 60-54 with two and a half minutes to play. But the rally stalled, and they trailed 69-61 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Lynx starting forward Aerial Powers, who came in averaging 12.9 points per game, was hit in the face while driving to the basket in the second quarter. No foul was called, but Powers had to be removed from the game, and played sparingly until starting the fourth quarter.