The shorthanded Minnesota Lynx finally cooled off against the Connecticut Sun on the second leg of back-to-back road games in Uncasville. Sun superstar forward Alyssa Thomas posted her second straight triple-double, recording 21 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists — Thomas became the first player in league history to post at least 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game. The Lynx were unable to overcome Thomas’s greatness and more turnover issues on the way to a 10-point loss. A forgettable shooting night also did not help their case as they dropped their first game since last Saturday against the Las Vegas Aces.
The game started fairly evenly with both teams being unable to score that efficiently against stout defenses in the first quarter. No. 2 overall pick Diamond Miller showed flashes of her star potential with a couple fancy moves and finishes at the rim that had Lynx fans out of their seats. With Minnesota stretched very thin without Napheesa Collier and Rachel Banham, Miller will have to take up more of that consistent role (which she was unable to do after this first frame). In a low-scoring first quarter, the Lynx held a two-point lead.
Diamond Miller's handle and agility at 6'3" is awesome— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) August 1, 2023
Gonna be a superstar as she continues to growpic.twitter.com/z00bk9a49f
The second quarter was all Sun and more specifically all DeWanna Bonner and Ty Harris. They combined for 17 points in the second quarter alone and Harris went on to score 17 off the bench in the game to give the Sun an extra boost on the offensive end. This is where we saw the grit that the Lynx have seemed to hang their hats on over the last few games. Every time it felt that the Sun were going to pull away, Minnesota had an answer. The Sun took a seven-point lead into the halftime break, likely frustrated with themselves — and the Lynx’s never-say-die attitude — that it wasn’t higher.
The second half was the same story repeated over and over again. Thomas was unstoppable in creating offense for her team. She scored or assisted on the majority of her teams points in the second half en route to a comfortable 10-point win. While the Lynx were able to cut the lead to four earlier on in the third quarter and Lindsey Allen did her best to keep Minnesota in the game that is as close as it got, but the Sun were able to close it out down the stretch.
Let’s get into some takeaways.
Lindsey Allen Shines
L.A. has been a great, steady presence at the point guard position for a young and inexperienced Lynx roster. Her ability to control and orchestrate the offense and create for others is a sight to see. Tonight, she decided to call her own number more than usual, in a good way. Whether it be because of lack of offense elsewhere or just her in a rhythm she maneuvered her way through the bigger trees and found ways to score around the basket. She ended 7/9 with 16 points and hit here lone 3-point attempt for the night. I always love when she gets recognition for her play because when I am able to practice with the team, I guard her quite often... and, to put it delicately, she busts my ass (excuse my French, Mr. Gobert).
Rookies Showing Flashes
If you like to look at the silver lining of bad situations (which I always do) the Collier injury has allowed both Dorka Juhász and Miller to take steps up in their usage rate and evolve into primary contributors on a playoff-caliber team. Now, neither of them were very efficient (2/6 and 4/14, respectively) but that does not mean that they did not show some good things.
The former Maryland Terrapin had some killer moves that dropped my jaw to the ground, while the former UCONN Husky’s physicality is something that is coveted by any front-court player in the entire WNBA. We have seen both take great strides this season in their development, and that continued Tuesday.
If you read my recap of the last Lynx matchup with the Sun you saw a similar tune. This turnover issue was much easier to swallow when it came with a W attached to it. Unfortunately for tonight’s game, that is not the case. The Lynx turned the ball over 19 times and only had 14 assists in the game. That is not a recipe for success. The Sun do have a top of the line defense that is very aggressive in trapping and blitzing ball-handlers in pick-and-roll, but Minnesota needs to take care of the ball if they want to play in the postseason this year. That is where the youth and inexperience of the roster has shown itself at different points this season.
It is really tough to win back to back games, on the road, against the same team... especially when a player goes for two straight triple doubles. The more important thing for me from this excursion to Connecticut is that the Lynx have some toughness to them. It cannot be overstated the impact that losing players like Collier and Banham can have on the team. Those two are extremely important to what the Lynx do and missing them (along with the recent extended time missed by Jess Shepard) is difficult to overcome.
Minnesota could have just walked into this road trip and rolled over. They are playing some of the top teams in the WNBA without their best player and a key piece of the bench. Not only do they come out swinging, but they were able to close out games on the road against championship caliber teams. That is a fact.
While they may have lost their winning streak tonight, heading down the stretch everyone should be afraid of when the Lynx come to town. This team will not go down without a fight.
The Lynx are back home on Friday, August 4th after a few days of rest to take on the New York Liberty at 7 PM on ION.
Get down to Target Center as the Lynx will be celebrating “Whay Day” to honor legendary point guard Lindsay Whalen’s introductions into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.