What has happened through four games isn’t ideal, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve admits. For a fan base — and a league — used to seeing the Lynx get off to great starts, it’s a surprise.
For Reeve? Her team’s 2-2 record isn’t that surprising.
“We probably aren’t going to have the best record in the league,” Reeve said Monday, at the airport about to travel from Washington, D.C., the sight of Sunday’s loss, to Atlanta, where the Lynx will play Tuesday. “We knew that.”
The combination of a team getting older and a revamped bench, combined with a compressed schedule and a stretch in which the Lynx will play six of seven on the road has made things more difficult, Reeve said.
“We had so many question marks going into the season,” Reeve said. “For two years, we knew exactly what our team was. We were a well-oiled machine.”
And now? A team looking to make adjustments on the fly.
In the opener, a one-point loss to Los Angeles, the Lynx were plagued by turnovers. In Sunday’s loss they were slayed at the three-point line, with Washington making 15 of 35 overall after starting the game 1-for-8. The Lynx were also beat up on the boards.
It was the Mystics’ bench players — particularly Myisha Hines-Allen, Natasha Cloud and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough — who beat the Lynx. They combined for 43 points and 16 rebounds. Hines-Allen was a plus-36, Walker-Kimbrough a plus-34.
And much of that damage was done against Lynx starters.
Reeve was frustrated at the open threes her team allowed. The defensive plan was to run three-pointers off the line and force them inside, where the Mystics don’t usually score, and to guard against driving players kicking it back out for a three.
The Lynx got worse at that as the game wore on.
Under Reeve the Lynx have usually made up for a relative lack of three-pointers with strong defense, good rebounding and getting to the free throw line. Still, the Lynx have to be more efficient shooting the three.
And they have to do a whole lot better job defending it.
That’s one of the many adjustments Reeve and the Lynx are trying to make. Reeve also needs to get more rebounding from Maya Moore.
“As we made changes in the offseason, and we got a little older, this was clear: this was going to be a challenge this summer,” Reeve said. “Also, the rest of the league, that’s sick and tired of the Lynx, they want to beat us. They’re going to line up. They smell blood right now. We’re going to have to withstand a lot.”
Reeve said she expects her team will do just that.
“We can’t panic,” she said. “We’ll be fine.”