Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve agrees that winning streaks and records get a lot of attention.
But after the Lynx defeated the Indiana Fever 87-63 on Tuesday at Target Center to set a WNBA record for consecutive victories to open a season, Reeve said what she notices the most about her team is its approach to the game.
“I told our team I was just impressed,” Reeve said. “We had an outstanding practice [Monday] and really focused and [had] a hunger for what we were talking about with some of our shortcomings over the weekend. I like this mind-set of wanting to do better.
“That’s one thing that’s really impressed me with this group is that we have great players that have done great things, but they still want to be coached and want to be pushed.”
The Lynx, playing for the third time in five days, pushed past the Fever for their 11th consecutive victory — breaking the WNBA record of 10 consecutive victories to open a season (set by the Lynx in 2012) in front of an announced crowd of 7,623.
The Lynx are two games away from their team record of 13 wins in a row, which spanned the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
“You know it’s more of the externally that people talk about those sorts of records and streaks,” Reeve said. “If you go in the locker room and ask any of them about [the record], they will say something like ‘OK, cool.’ That’s what makes this group so special is that they aren’t caught up in those types of moments.”
The Lynx were focused on that from the outset against the Fever.
The Lynx made 17 of their first 25 shots and used a 14-0 run to open a 43-21 lead midway through the second quarter. The Lynx, who led by 18 points at halftime (49-31), opened the second half with a 16-6 run to build a 65-37 lead. The Fever didn’t get closer than 22 points the rest of the game.
“Our coaches had a great game plan for us,” Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen said. “That was one thing we really focused on [Monday] in practice — just defensively being there for each other and just playing as hard as we could. Just sticking to our schemes.”
The 63 points allowed by the Lynx were a season low and the Fever’s 34.3 percent field-goal percentage (23 of 67) was the second-best defensive percentage by the Lynx this season. Indiana was 3-for-20 from three-point range.
Offensively, the Lynx were balanced. For the fifth consecutive game, at least four players scored in double figures.
Maya Moore paced the Lynx with 16 points in 25 minutes. Seimone Augustus scored 12 points, Sylvia Fowles and Jia Perkins each contributed 11 and Rebekkah Brunson 10.
Moore and Fowles each grabbed eight rebounds, and Perkins was 3-for-4 from three-point range.
There was no repeat of the season’s first meeting between the two teams when the Fever rallied from a 23-point halftime deficit to get within one in the final minute before losing to the Lynx 74-71 at Target Center on May 27.
“I mean, they were pretty darn good the first time we played them,” Fever coach Stephanie White said.
“I just think it’s a team on a mission and they’re obviously the best team in the league. I think that Sylvia [Fowles] has been dominant inside and that gives them a different dimension than they’ve had in the past.”
Erlana Larkins scored 12 points and Tiffany Mitchell scored 11 to lead the Fever (4-7). Tamika Catchings, who scored 27 for the Fever in a 90-88 loss to Seattle on Sunday, was limited to two points.