Two impressions that came out of an 88-80 loss to Connecticut on Tuesday at Target Center in the preseason finale for the Lynx:
• There still is a lot to do before the team starts the regular season June 1.
• How the team will fill out its roster is becoming a bit clearer.
First, the work:
The Lynx were beat up on the offensive boards, struggled mightily with turnovers and there is still work to be done with the second unit. After the Sun (2-1) had turned 19 offensive rebounds into 26 second-chance points and translated the 22 Lynx turnovers into 33 points, that much was clear.
“We saw a lot of things we need to work on, but that’s what the preseason is for,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a good game for us. We needed a quality game, a quality opponent.”
They got that. The Sun had six players with at least eight points, led by Tan White (12), Ashley Walker (11) and Allison Hightower (10).
The Lynx starters looked ready. Guards Lindsay Whalen (14 points) and Seimone Augustus (15) was each 6-for-7 from the field. Maya Moore scored 13 points and Rebekkah Brunson had eight points and 10 rebounds. A lineup of mostly starters turned a seven-point third-quarter deficit into a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter.
But then, with Minnesota up 78-73 on Rachel Jarry’s three-pointer with 6 minutes left, a lineup of mainly Lynx reserves saw the Sun go on a 13-0 run that gave Connecticut an eight-point lead on Walker’s three-pointer with 2:30 left. The Lynx scored only two points after Jarry’s three.
“I think it’s uncharacteristic for us,” Reeve said of the problems rebounding and taking care of the ball. “But it’s preseason, and you have new players, players who don’t always understand where they’re supposed to be.”
Monica Wright, whose role has increased this season, scored nine points and had four assists while running the point for the second unit. But she also had six of her team’s 22 turnovers.
“I think her decision-making has to improve,” Reeve said of Wright. “But we’re trying to put Monnie in that role. She needs to experience the ups and downs, what she has to do to improve.”
As for the roster decisions? The fact that Jarry played 19 minutes and Ta’Shauna Rodgers got 23:08 would indicate both have a strong chance to make the team, as does first-round draft pick Lindsey Moore, who missed the game because of a sore calf. Final rosters have to be set by Thursday.
Bottom line: The Lynx will use this game as a wake-up call.
“It’s a good reminder of how hard it is to win,” Maya Moore said.
Center Janel McCarville (sprained left ankle) also didn’t play on Tuesday. Reeve is expecting both McCarville and Lindsey Moore to return to practice within a couple of days. McCarville, who turned the ankle in practice on Monday, had some swelling and stiffness, but was moving better Tuesday. Amber Harris started at center in her place.