There's always a quarter, it seems.
The Lynx dropped to 1-6 with a 94-78 loss at Dallas on Saturday night. It was a game that played out like so many losses have for the Lynx this season, with one quarter being the difference. One quarter where things go off the rails.
"Every game," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "And until we find a defensive identity, and play with some toughness and don't get out-worked, this is going to be the result."
Saturday, it was the third quarter.
In the first half, the Lynx played OK defense, kept something of a lid on the Wings' outside shooters, did enough against a quick Dallas team that tried to pressure the ball while building a 45-43 lead.
But then, the third quarter:
Dallas made 12 of 20 shots., including five of 10 threes. The Wings outrebounded the Lynx 11-3, using six offensive rebounds to score 12 points, fueling an offense that outscored the Lynx 36-19. It was 10 minutes of frustration that turned a close game into a Wings walk. To Reeve, it was a microcosm of the season so far.
"Just pick something defensively," she said. "Any basic stuff. Help and help the helper. You know when you're giving up penetration they're going to come on your backside on the glass. So put a body on people. This was not a surprise to us. We certainly wanted to keep them off the glass. That was a priority. You probably couldn't tell."
The Wings (4-2) turned 15 Lynx turnovers into 21 points. They turned 15 offensive rebounds into 23 more.
All five Lynx starters scored in double figures, with Sylvia Fowles, Jessica Shepard and Kayla McBride all scoring 14 points. Fowles also had nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals. No other starter had more than four rebounds.
Dallas got 20 points and seven assists from Arike Ogunbowale, and 22 points and five rebounds from Marina Mabrey. The Wings bench outscored the Lynx reserves 27-12. That number was 21-2 through three quarters.
Defensively, the Lynx have yet to arrive on the same page. As Shepard said, the team has not been cohesive on that end.
"We talked about it," she said. "When one person moves it should kind of be like a string, we're all moving. I think for us, we need to get into the gym and get better at playing together, moving together."
After Saturday's game, the Lynx stand 11th out of 12 WNBA teams in opponents' points off turnovers (19.7 per game) and last in second-chance points allowed (12.9).
"It's trust and helping each other," said point guard Moriah Jefferson of the defense. Playing in her first game in Dallas since being waived by the Wings earlier this season, Jefferson had 12 points and four assists. "We're going to be better. I'm going to make sure of that."
After the game, Reeve didn't sound like she necessarily agreed, wondering aloud if this Lynx team has what it takes.
"We're 1-6," she said. "That's exactly right. People talk about, 'Well, you played them tough. We played somebody like Las Vegas tough.' That's our new standard. We will continue to not be successful until we have the collective will that we, as a coaching staff, are looking for. And maybe this group doesn't have it."
The Star Tribune did not travel for this event. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the event.