After a surprising 0-4 start to the 2021 WNBA season, the Minnesota Lynx appeared to have righted the ship over the last week or so, winning three consecutive games and entering tonight looking to get back to .500. Unfortunately for our favorite WNBA franchise, matching their number of wins with losses will have to wait a little longer after a sloppy performance in the Nation’s Capital.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom to start things out against the home team Washington Mystic, as the Lynx jumped out of the gates with a 18-17 first quarter lead, primarily because of defensive plays like this from the great Sylvia Fowles:
However, things quickly got away from Minnesota in the second quarter, primarily due to unforced turnovers on offense and sloppy performances like this on defense:
If you caught Tuesday’s game on Twitter, you know that the Lynx were lucky to be down just five at halftime, but the Mystics quickly came out of the halftime break and put Minnesota away for good, fueled by a 27-18 third quarter. Tina Charles, who finished with a game high 31 points on 9-of-18 shooting, made big shot after big shot to mute any sort of momentum the Lynx tried to build in the second half. The Mystics also got a strong performance from Ariel Atkins, who finished the game with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.
As for the Lynx, they were paced by Napheesa Collier, who finished the game with 22 points and 9 rebounds, including this impressive And-1 late in the second quarter:
Phee also tallied 4 blocks and 3 steals, but again it was the careless turnovers and putrid shooting performance from three that did Minnesota in in this one. The Lynx finished the game shooting just 6-of-22 from deep (23.8%), and turned the ball over 21 times (which I’m pretty sure is far and away their season high for turnovers).
Overall, it was simply a disappointing performance Tuesday night by a team that had played really strong basketball over the last week or so. As mentioned above, Tina Charles was awesome in this one for Washington, but it felt like the Lynx simply beat themselves by not taking care of the ball and not making enough stops on the defensive end — two things you rarely see from a Cheryl Reeve coached team.
Sitting at 3-5, the Lynx will now return to Target Center for two straight home games against the Los Angeles Sparks and Chicago Sky. While still early (enough) in the season, Minnesota will likely need to win at least one of these next two games to keep themselves afloat in the super competitive WNBA standings.