Lynx search for answers after losing second in a row

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 16, 2014 - 6:57 AM

The Lynx, losers of two in a row, took a long, hard look at themselves after Phoenix rolled to victory.

view larger photos

  

Afterward, in the locker room, the Lynx players were quiet. Things had to change, they said. But nobody seemed certain how to make that happen. Coach Cheryl Reeve, who expressed herself so effectively to the officials Sunday at Target Center (witness the two technical fouls), was somewhat less verbose talking about the game afterward.

“I thought we’d be more excited and energized to play at home,” she said.

With defensive breakdowns and offensive misfires, the Lynx did something they hadn’t done in a long, long time. They lost to Phoenix 80-72 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate. It was the first regular-season loss to the Mercury in 11 tries. It broke a streak of 14 consecutive victories, including playoffs, against the Mercury.

On the other side of the coin: It was the Lynx’s second straight loss, their third in four games, their worst stretch since losing three in a row last August. And it moved the Mercury (7-3) within a half-game of the Lynx (8-3) in the WNBA’s Western Conference.

For the second consecutive game, the Lynx allowed an opponent to score 50 first-half points and build a 20-plus-point first-half lead. Even a strong second-half comeback led mainly by reserves — including Monica Wright, who made her season debut after having knee surgery in late April — couldn’t change the outcome.

“It is, obviously, the first half,” Maya Moore said. She led the team with 14 points but needed 18 shots to get there. She shot 6-for-18 and turned the ball over five times as her personal offensive slump continued; Moore has shot 19-for-61 (31.1 percent) the past four games. “You can’t give up 50 points, and not score. Both of those need to change.”

And quickly. The Lynx, in the middle of a stretch in which they’ll play six games in 10 days, will have little time to practice. Up next is a two-game trip to Los Angeles and Phoenix on Tuesday and Wednesday. But something does have to change.

On Sunday, four of five Mercury starters scored in double figures. Diana Taurasi had 21 points and 11 assists. Center Brittney Griner had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.

“It did feel good,” Taurasi said of ending the streak. “They’re the best team in the league.”

But the Lynx are struggling of late. Seimone Augustus and Damiris Dantas each scored 10 points. Tan White scored 13 off the bench. But Reeve benched most of her starters for most of the fourth quarter.

In the first half, Phoenix shot 59.45 percent and hit on five of nine three-pointers. The Lynx, meanwhile, struggled to a 14-for-40, 31-point first half that left the Mercury in control.

“It’s our defense,” Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen said. “When we give up 50 points, it’s hard to make anything happen offensively.”

Added Moore: “Our offense gets energy from our defense. When that doesn’t come out and set the tone, our offense doesn’t have the pep it needs. The only thing to do is play it out, play through hit, play your way back.”

With the Lynx down 17 with 5:48 left to play, Reeve started sitting her starters. Ultimately a lineup of Asia Taylor, Dantas, Wright, White and Tricia Liston got the lead down to six on Taylor’s basket with 29 seconds left. But they got no closer. And the final score does not show how frustrating a game this was for the Lynx.

“For the second game in a row, a team dropped 50 points on us in a half,” Reeve said. “When you’re not putting the ball in the hole at the same rate … it’s going to be really hard for us. So, until we figure that out, games will be really hard.”

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Phoenix 80, Lynx 72

    Monday June 16, 2014

  • Postgame: Lynx struggle in loss, tough road games ahead

    Sunday June 15, 2014

    And it doesn't get easier, with road games at Los Angeles and at Phoenix looming.

  • Lindsey Whalen attempted to drive by the defense of Phoenix Anete Jekabsone-Zogota.

  • Lynx Asia Taylor looked to pass the ball as Phoenix center Brittney Griner towered over her.

  • Seimone Augustus and the Lynx found the going tough against Diana Taurasi and the Mercury on Sunday at Target Center. Phoenix scored 50 first-half points and eased to victory.

  • Phoenix 80, Lynx 72

    Up next: 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Los Angeles • No TV (106.1-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - C. Frias 2:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 2:40 PM
Arizona - A. Chafin
Boston - C. Buchholz 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano
Toronto - J. Happ 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Washington - B. Treinen 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Miami - H. Alvarez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - D. Gee
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Cincinnati - D. Corcino 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Chicago WSox - C. Sale 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Detroit - D. Price 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Texas - D. Holland 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close