After 3 straight (shocking!) losses, the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx closed the 1st half of their 2012 season with 2 wins, thus taking a 15-4 record into a 5-week layoff occasioned by the 2012 Olympic Games. The Lynx, of course, have 3 players on the U.S. Olympic team--Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen--and so are fortunate that the entire league is shutting down for the occasion.
The Lynx are also fortunate to have followed their 3-game losing streak with 2 games vs. the WNBA's worst team, Tulsa, who enters the Olympic break with a 3-15 record. After hammering on the Shock 107-89 (in Tulsa) and 89-64 (today [Thursday July 12] in Minneapolis, the Lynx enter the 5 week sabbatical at 15-4.
15-4! And we're the defending WNBA champs! What could be better?
So how come the Lynx and their fans are feeling so blue? Well, there's those 3 straight losses after a 10-0 and then 13-1 start. And there's those 3 straight losses. And, oh yeah, there's those 3 straight losses. So the Lynx are 15-4. Would you have taken 15-4 before game #1? In a heartbeat. If they had won 4, then lost 1, then won 4 more, then lost 1, then won 4 more, then lost 1, then won 3 more, then lost 1, for a record of 15-4, there'd be no bellyaching. But, instead, 3 of the 4 losses came consecutively and, suddenly, the sky was falling.
But then came 2 wins vs. Tulsa in which:
Maya Moore broek loose for 26 points and 8.5 rebounds per game
Seimone Augustus scored 15.5 ppg
Lindsay Whalen scored 12. 5 ppg with 7.5 assists per
Taj scored 10 ppg with 10 boards and 2.5 blocks
Monica Wright (starting in place of Rebekah Brunson) scored 10 ppg with 2.5 steals
Candace Wiggins scored 17 ppg (25 in game 2) with 2 steals per game
Amber Harris scored 7 ppg
Brunson will be back from her injury (not serious) as will rookie Deveraux Peters. With those 2 and the 7 above producing like they did against Tulsa, the Lynx will be very hard to beat. But of course you cannot expect the same production against the rest of the league that you get vs. Tulsa.
The biggest point is that the Lynx waaay out-shot Tulsa, including a league record 69.5 percent in game 1, and even shot 82 percent from the line in both games. And they even out-shot the Shock from beyond the arc. In their 3 losses they out-shot their opponents twice on 2-point attempts but got totally demolished on the 3-ball.
The Lynx rarely win the possession game anymore--too many turnovers and too few offensive boards--and so the key through 13-1 was out-shooting their opponents, often by a wide margin. The key to the 2nd half of the season will be to find their shooting touch as well as enough defensive chops to get back to out-shooting people. We know they can do it vs. Tulsa. What about San Antone, LA and Connecticut?