The talk about the Minnesota Lynx heading into this one was primarily two things: 1) Their resurgence back into the playoff hunt and, 2) A typically cruel travel schedule. After a horrendous start to the season, they have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games to help them get just 1.0 games back of the 7th/8th seeds and just 1.5 games back of the 6th seed. However, they were also entering their third game in four days which began with a home-road back-to-back. This is also a great time to remind those who are unaware that WNBA player are quite literally forced to fly commercial airlines which often result in travel snafus like, say, cancelled flights.
Here’s the full video on Natalie Achonwa’s Instagram story that I referenced: pic.twitter.com/d8qRwoZW9u— Mitchell Hansen (@M_Hansen13) July 16, 2022
By the time they arrived to their hotel in Washington D.C., it was 1:00 a.m. They had a game less than 10 hours later against this team.
The matinee tip only served to compound the unfair situation for Minnesota, but they were determined to continue their climb into playoff contention. Though both teams looked like their coffee had yet to kick in, the Lynx relied on phenomenal ball movement to capitalize on the Mystics slow start, helping them jump out to a 17-13 lead after the first quarter. A 17-point quarter was a far cry away from the 92.1 points per game pace they were averaging in the last 10 games, but all things concerned, a four-point lead was still reason for optimism.
Unfortunately, it was pretty much all downhill from there.
The 2019 MVP, Elena Delle Donne, took over. Her offensive talents were on full display as she alone outscored Minnesota 13-11 in the second quarter. No one seemed to have an answer in a Lynx jersey, as they all took turns misfiring from the field. The overall field goal percentage of the visitors dropped to 34.3% by halftime as they trailed 28-37 heading into the break. Things did not get any better after that. A zone defense was able to briefly slow down EDD, but Minnesota was still incapable of putting the ball in the bucket. A nine-point halftime deficit quickly doubled in size as the fatigue looked to finally set in.
Kayla McBride, who finished with a team-high 16 points, led a brief surge to bridge the final two quarters together, but it was too little too late. The closest the Lynx would get was 50-58 with 6:33 remaining, but another Mystics run would slam the door shut for good. Minnesota’s final shooting splits as a team was a disastrous .333/.200/.750 and a 16-8 loss in the turnover battle was just too much to overcome.
A common message among #Lynx players/coaches today after going through recent travel issues has been there are no excuses even though the last few days have been hard.— Mitchell Hansen (@M_Hansen13) July 17, 2022
Lynx aren't making excuses for travel resulting in today's loss, they felt they still should have won. #WNBA
The Lynx get a much-deserved break back in Minnesota for the next 10 days. The brutal three games in four days have ended and now they have just three games in 11 days. Their next contest is not another five days against the third place Connecticut Sun on Friday 7/22 @ 7pm CT. There are just nine games left in the regular season and unlike the previous season, it will not be a cakewalk of a schedule.