With just over a minute and half left in a three point game, Odyssey Sims found herself open at the free throw line on a pick-and-roll. She buried the jumper, and proceeded to make a steal that led to free throws on the next possession, and then got to line herself and made two, stretching a tenuous Lynx lead to eight over the course of 20 seconds.
Truth be told, this was not a pretty game. Neither team managed to shoot better than 40 percent from the field, and while much of this was due to excellent defense by both squads, the reality is there were a lot of missed shots and poor decisions made with the ball.
The game got off to a slow start, with neither team finding anything offensively eary. The Lynx made what turned out to be the decisive run the second quarter, when the turned up the defensive pressure and began to find Sylvia Fowles on the block. Fowles would finish the half with 15 points, and the Lynx would have a comfortable 14 point lead heading into the break, thanks to a defense that held the Wings to 27 first half points.
It might have been too comfortable, however, because the Lynx got badly outworked and outplayed in the second half. They were lucky that the Wings struggled to convert most of the game, because when the Wings turned up the defensive heat, the Lynx had very few answers. They wound up with 16 turnovers tonight, which shockingly is an improvement over the first couple of games, but was frustrating nonetheless.
Because of their lack of perimeter threats, teams can double in the paint against the Lynx, pressure people to make ball movement difficult, and swarm to the ball whenever the Lynx get in an awkward position. The Wings did all of this in the second half, and the Lynx had very few answers.
One of those was Damiris Dantas, who scored a taem high 20, nine of which came during a cruicial span midway through the fourth quarer, when she convertaed a three point play and made two straight three piontsrs to halt a WIngs run.
The Wings, despite trailing by as many as 17 at one point, kept coming They were very impressive in the second half, especially on defense, and almost managed to come all the way back.
Brian Agler, former head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks, has the Wings playing an aggressive brand of defense that we’ve seen before, and can cause real problems. Right now, they probably lack the necessary talent to be a real threat in the league, but he can coach and that team is going to get better.
For the Lynx, we saw some of the offensive issues that might hurt them this season. 5-19 from three. Starting guards who aren’t distance shooters, and aren’t necessarily natural play makers. There are lots of things to like about Danielle Robinson, but she can get loose and sloppy with the ball at times. When teams commit to stopping Fowles, they don’t always have the ability to make them pay for it.
Still, it was another win, this one on the road. Fowles (19) and Dantas (20) were excellent, they defended well through much of the game, and they made the plays they needed to down the stretch to hang on.
Lets hit a few notes:
- A tough night for the rookies, with Collier scoring 5 points on 1-7, and Shepard being held scoreless. They were both pretty active however, and helped in other ways.
- Without Diggins-Smth (or Cambage) the Wings just don’t have anyone consistent to got to offensively. Ogunbonwale might develop into that, but not yet.
- Next up is a trip to Seattle to face the Storm again on Tuesday.