Minnesota Lynx clinch 10th straight playoff spot, Crystal Dangerfield named Rookie of the Month

Crystal Dangerfield #2 of the Minnesota Lynx dribbles up the court guarded by Sydney Wiese #24 of the Los Angeles Sparks during the first half of a game at Feld Entertainment Center on August 09, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. ((Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images))

The Minnesota Lynx didn’t even play Tuesday night, but they still managed to clinch their 10th straight trip to the WNBA Playoffs.

The Atlanta Dream beat the Indiana Fever Tuesday, which solidified the Lynx’s spot in the postseason. The Lynx are currently fourth in the league with an 11-5 record and are one of five teams to have clinched a playoff spot. They join the Seattle Storm, Las Vegas Aces, L.A. Sparks and Chicago Sky. Their 10 straight playoff appearances is the second-longest stretch in WNBA history.

"Super proud of that as a franchise. You can't win a championship if you're not in the playoffs," Cheryl Reeve, Lynx head coach and general manager, said Wednesday.

The Lynx have six regular season games remaining, starting Wednesday night against the Chicago Sky at IMG Academy.

They’re winning with defense, and balanced scoring. Second-year forward Napheesa Collier leads four Minnesota players averaging double figures in scoring at 16.4 points per game. Crystal Dangerfield is averaging 15.9 points per game, Sylvia Fowles is at 14.6 points per game and Damiris Dantas is at 10.9 points per game. The Lynx have won lately despite Fowles being out with a calf injury.

The Lynx know what they’re getting on a nightly basis from Collier, Dangerfield and Fowles, when she’s healthy. Monday night, Rachel Banham added 18 points in a victory.

“I think that’s what makes our team, we’ve been so successful so far. Anyone on any given night can knock down shots and get hot, score 15-20 points a game. It’s fun to be part of a team that everyone can hit a 3, attack the basket, get in the key and find open players. I think that just makes us so dangerous,” Lynx forward Bridget Carleton said Wednesday.

The Lynx also might have gotten the steal of the WNBA Draft when they got Dangerfield in the second round.

She was named the league’s Rookie of the Month on Tuesday. She’s stared 14 games for the Lynx, and is second in the league among rookies in scoring and minutes played. She’s also third in assists, and leads the WNBA with 102 fourth quarter points, and shooting 62.5 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.

Dangerfield had 18 of her 21 points in the second half of the Lynx’s win over the L.A. Sparks Monday night. That’s after scoring 20 points against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. In her last 10 games, she’s averaging 19.5 points, shooting 48.2 percent from the field and getting 3.4 assists per game.