The Minnesota Lynx went back to Las Vegas for their matchup with the Aces for the second time this season. The Aces came into the matchup with the red hot record of 9-1 while also winning each of their previous two games.
The first half between the two teams was a back and forth affair for the majority of the time before the Aces took over towards the end of the second quarter. They were able to mount a 13 point lead heading into the break. That is when the power outage hit the Lynx offense. The basket seemed to have a lid on it and Las Vegas broke the game open outscoring the Lynx 20-7 in the third quarter. With the lead then up to 26, the Lynx were unable to mount a comeback within the final quarter.
Let’s discuss some important takeaways from this game.
Napheesa Collier’s Offense Continues to Shine
Collier had been on a tear in the last few games scoring 20+ in a 2-1 stretch for the Lynx. She was the motor that drove the offense and whenever Minnesota needed a bucket they just gave her the ball and let her go to work. Her work continued a trend our Jack Borman wrote about on Sunday; Collier put up a line of 18 points and 7 rebounds tonight and while most of her damage came in the first half, she still was able to help keep the Lynx in the game against the best team in the league of the Aces. Watching her blossom into the first option has been a bright spot for the Lynx all year.
First Action for Emily Engstler
The Lynx signed Engstler — the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft — on June 14th to a hardship contract, and she saw her first action as a member of the team on Sunday night. In 10 minutes, she scored two points and corralled four rebounds for the team. While she is brand new and there were definitely kinks that need to be worked out, she did show some flashes of potentially being able to provide some two-way value off the Lynx bench. It is still too early to tell what her roll will be on the roster but it is definitely something to keep track of.
The Lynx had a massive offensive dry spell in the second half that lead to the eventual loss. Finding some consistent help for Collier on the offensive end would be a huge lift to take some of the load off of her shoulders — this is where the Lynx are really missing Diamond Miller. Along with this, the Lynx had 10 turnovers in the second half (after just two in the first half) that led to a lot of fast break points and easy baskets for an Aces team that loves to run. Giving them those opportunities makes it extremely difficult to be able to beat a great team like Las Vegas. Limiting those turnovers and stopping the fast break points is crucial to getting back to the winning ways of the previous two games.
The Lynx will look to bounce back against the Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday, June 20th at 9:00pm. You can watch the game on either CBS Sports Network or as always on Bally Sports North.