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Mystics 89, Lynx 86: A Painful Loss

A slow start and poor fourth quarter doom the Lynx

Minnesota Lynx v Washington Mystics Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Uncharacteristically poor defense most of the night made the Lynx’ game against the Washington Mystics an uphill climb, one they ultimately could not overcome despite several opportunities. The result was a disappointing 89-86 loss that moves the Lynx to 13-7 on the season and fighting to hang on to the 4th seed and a first round bye in the WNBA playoffs. Any thoughts of moving up were pretty much crushed by this loss.

After their loss to the Seattle Storm on Sunday, I expected the Lynx to come out with purpose tonight, but the opposite happened. The Mystics punched first, led by Myisha Hines-Allen, for whom the Lynx had no answer, especially in the first half, when she scored 19 of her 26 total points. She was a force in the paint, driving and finishing over anyone the Lynx tried to put in her way.

The Lynx did fight their way back into the game behind some strong first half offense from Odyssey Sims and Napheesa Collier who once again did strong work on the offensive glass, but the Lynx trailed by seven at halftime.

It appeared they were taking control in the third quarter behind Crystal Dangerfield, who scored ten of her 20 total points in the frame, and a foul on a buzzer beating three point attempt by Erica McCall sent the Lynx to the fourth quarter with a three point lead and momentum.

But the Mystics owned the fourth quarter, starting with a quick 8-0 run that gave them a lead they would not relinquish. They took advantage of some sloppy play by the Lynx at both ends, with a several turnovers costing possessions, and mistakes defensively leading to open cutters at the other end. The Lynx still had a chance, down three late, but Dangerfield made an error when she drove and scored a layup when the Lynx needed three. That basket came with only one second left, and the Lynx had no chance at another possession.

Overall, the Lynx had a solid offensive game, shooting 54.5%, but made only five of their 18 three point attempts, while the Mystics managed 9-26, which was the real difference in the ball game. Ultimately, the Lynx had a poor defensive game they were unable to overcome. Himes-Allen was too much for them in the paint, they left cutters free at the basket far too often, and their close-outs and rotations simply were not crisp enough.

This was a hugely disappointing loss against a team not currently in playoff position. Next up for the Lynx are the Las Vegas Aces, currently second in the league standings, on Thursday night. A three game losing streak is a real possibility as the regular season nears its end.

Lets Notes:

  • Collier finished with another double-double, 21-11. She’s a terrific player, and the next step for her is taking on more responsibility for getting her own offense.
  • Dangerfield finished with 20 and seven assists, and it’s hard to see her not winning Rookie of the Year, which would give the Lynx two in a row.
  • The teams took 24 second violations on the first possession of each quarter, intending to remind viewers of their commitment to social and racial justice.