The achilles heel of the 2019 Minnesota Lynx has been turnovers. They’ve inadvertently given the ball to their opposition more than any team in the WNBA all season. In fact, at this pace the Lynx will have more total turnovers and a higher turnovers per game number than any team since the 2012 Chicago Sky.
It’s a problem that doomed the team again on Sunday in Seattle as they turned it over 19 times in total. Turnovers seem to come in bunches and unfortunately the Lynx opened the game with one of those bunches. Minnesota turned the ball over on six of their first ten possessions. This allowed the Storm to run out to an 11-0 lead. Starting in a hole like that is not ideal and the Lynx spent the entire afternoon playing catch-up.
Minnesota finally scored their first basket of the game at the five minute mark of the first quarter and eventually went on an 8-0 run. Finding Sylvia Fowles and Napheesa Collier in the paint for point-blank looks, the Lynx briefly changed their fortunes and only trailed by seven after the first quarter.
Seattle kept the Lynx at bay with red-hot shooting from beyond the three point line. The Storm knocked in seven of their first 11 threes. Most seemed to be the direct result of miscommunication by Minnesota defenders in pick and roll coverage. The Seattle rain was very real in the first half of this game, as shooters like Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Crystal Langhorne came off the bench and found themselves wide open from deep on multiple occasions.
Offensively, the story of the game for the Lynx was Odyssey Sims scoring 18 of her season-high 30 points in the third quarter. Hitting all eight of her shots in the quarter, Sims scored the ball from all over the court. Aside from her usual brilliance in the lane, Sims had the midrange game working and even banked in a three pointer- the truest sign of an “on fire” shooter. Sims’ scoring sparked a 10-0 Minnesota run to close the third quarter. The “lucky lefty” had given her team life, cutting the Storm lead to only four points.
Despite the incredible scoring performance by Sims, the rest of her team couldn’t keep the offensive surge flowing in the fourth quarter. Seattle veteran forward Alysha Clark was the closeout catalyst for the Storm. She brought her typical brand of pesky on-ball defense and hit all three of her shots as well. The Lynx only had two made field goals in the first nine minutes of the final frame. Once again, another flame-out fourth quarter.
It seems likely that these two teams will face each other in a single-elimination first round playoff game. It does not appear to be a favorable matchup for Minnesota as Seattle won three of the four games between these teams this season. It’s not too early to be looking ahead to the playoffs, and the Lynx still have a lot to figure out.
Fowles only pulled down a single rebound on Sunday. That’s her lowest rebound total ever in a Lynx uniform. The last time she had zero rebounds was when she played six total minutes for the Sky in the final game of the 2012 season.
Lexie Brown did not enter the game and is not injured. It’s been an up and down season for the young player. She’s still shooting above 40% from three for the season, but doesn’t bring enough to the table in other aspects of the game. On the other hand, the Lynx badly need her spacing in their offense.
Damiris Dantas only played 14 minutes. Her effectiveness was limited early on and Cheryl Reeve found some minutes for Fowles and Temi Fagbenle sharing the floor and playing well together. The Lynx are being very careful with Dantas and her calf.
In 86 minutes over the course of six games, the return of Seimone Augustus has not been pretty. She’s shooting 10/37 (27%) from the floor, including 2/10 from three and has only gotten to the line for two free throw attempts. Augustus will get the rest of the season to round into form, but the early returns are not promising.
Danielle Robinson made a three pointer! It was her first attempt in the last seven games and her first make since July 6th. Robinson is now 9/40 (22%) on the season from long range.
In a delightful surprise, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton joined the local Seattle JOETV broadcast as a color analyst. Pelton primarily covers the NBA but is an informed and loyal WNBA fan as well.
The west coast road trip rolls on as Minnesota takes on Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Drink an extra coffee, tip off is at 9:30pm CT.
Watch: NBA TV, Spectrum Sportsnet, NBA TV Canada
Listen: BOB 106 FM