Friday, July 6, 2012

Lynx Lose 2

With a 10-0 start, the MN Lynx set a new WNBA record for wins at the start of a season. At 13-1, they came within 1 win of tying the best 1-loss start of 14-1. But the fact is the Lynx are now playing .500 ball since that 10-0 start after losing at San Antone 93-84 and LA 96-90.

Neither loss was a big surprise--San Antone and LA are the #3 and #4 teams in all of the WNBA and both games/losses came on the road, where the Lynx now have the league's 3rd best record at 5-3. The real secret to their success has been an unbeaten 8-0 record at home.

What is distressing about the losses is that both had about the same shape. Not so much the ebb and flow of the game. The Lynx lost the San Antonio game in the 1st quarter as the Silver Stars took a 35-22 lead. They lost to LA in the 3rd quarter when a 49-43 half-time deficit ballooned to 73-57. They came back in both games but never quite got out of the hole that they'd fallen into.

What I mean is both teams beat the Lynx with the same basic formula. The inside game and the 3. Becky Hammon made 7-of-13 3s for 23 points for the Stars, while Kristi Tolliver was an insane 6-of-6 on 3s and scored 29 points. Both opponents shot better than 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Sophia Young and Candace Parker each had a field day against the Lynx' inside D, making 18-of-27 shots between them for 22 and 28 points, respectively. What's more, they made 16-of-22 FT, getting to the line too easily and too frequently. Both teams out-shot the Lynx from the FT line, San Antone 86 percent to 71, LA by 82 percent to 53.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin got roasted by both of her counterparts while Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore each had one poor outing among the 2. Seimone Augustus and Rebekah Brunson averaged 14 and 12 points for the 2 games, while Brunson added 9.5 boards.

On the plus side, the Lynx' bench continues to produce. Against San Antone, Monica Wright scored 18 and Candace Wiggins 10, while Devereaux Peters scored 5 points with 9 boards and 2 steals. Against LA, Wiggins scored another 10 points, as did Amber Harris.

The Lynx won the possession game vs. LA and broke even vs. San Antone. Ironically, they out-shot both from 2-point range. But they got out-shot badly from 3 and from 1 point range, which proved to be a recipe for trouble. The 3 point defense needs to tighten up and the Lynx need to get to the FT line themselves if they're going to stay on top in the WNBA.

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