The Minnesota Lynx rollercoaster season continues as they followed up their feel-good, playoff intensity win vs Los Angeles on Thursday with another stinker in Chicago on Saturday. Inconsistent play is not something the team has dealt with much in the Reeve-era. Continuity tends to breed predictability, but at this point its hard to know what to expect from the Lynx on a game to game basis.
Maya Moore got back on track shooting the ball after two off-nights. She wasn’t ultra efficient needing 16 shots to get 16 points, but her confidence and touch looked good in this one. Sky shooting guard Allie Quigley led the way for Chicago scoring 15 points with three threes, five assists and four steals.
Chicago is a similar team to Indiana. They’re both young and rebuilding squads giving big minutes to glittering, yet unproven rookies. It was clear that the Sky attempted, and succeeded at executing the Fever’s game plan against the Lynx- get a turnover or rebound and run.
Once again Minnesota had some horrendous transition defense miscues. The Sky’s backcourt of Quigely and Courtney Vandersloot used any and every opportunity to push the ball ahead and challenge the Lynx slower, unset defense. Chicago easily got into advantageous situations, putting the Lynx defense into rotation which led to many open threes and layups. Of all players who average at least one three pointer per game, Quigley and Vandersloot are two of the top 13 three point shooters by percentage. They torched the Lynx Saturday by combining for five of the Sky’s nine treys.
Searching for Sylvia
There is a baseline effectiveness that the team needs to get from Sylvia Fowles if they are to win a game against even an average WNBA team. She is capable of putting such a large stamp on any given contest that the Lynx really miss it when she has an off night. Unable to dominate in Chicago, Fowles was relegated to scoring most of her points on offensive put backs rather than set plays or actions. Only scoring nine points on seven shots isn’t good enough.
Minnesota’s offense fell flat for the second time this week. Moore made the most shots but wasn’t very efficient in the process. Nobody else on the team aside from Tanisha Wright (4-5 for nine points in 15 mins) had a good game offensively. Furthermore the team only went to the free throw line six times and connected on just five three pointers. Currently, by offensive rating, the Lynx have just the eighth best offense in the league. That is much lower than they’ve been in the last few years this late into the season.
In the last two weeks the Lynx schedule has been highlighted by two impressive wins over Seattle and Los Angeles and two letdown losses against Indiana and Chicago. It all reeks of a team playing down/up to their opponent. The sharpness and intensity displayed against the rival Sparks was nowhere to be seen against the tenth place Sky. No matter how or why these losses occurred, they will haunt the Lynx in the last week of the regular season as they jockey for playoff position.
Saturday was the Lynx first game in Chicago’s Wintrust Area. The much more modern, centrally located home area for the Sky.
UCONN star and Sky first round draft pick Gabby Williams did not start for Chicago for the first time this season. She still played well scoring ten points in 15 mins.
Cecilia Zandalasini has now made a three pointer in 11 straight games. That’s a lot of swishing.
This game caps a stretch in which the Lynx have played eight games in 16 nights.
Minnesota has three days off before playing in Indiana on Wednesday as they attempt to get revenge on the Fever. The team will have to wake up early to get that redemption as tip off is at 11AM CT! You can watch the game on WNBA League Pass or listen at BOB 106 FM.