Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve never raised her voice, but she made her point.

Reeve had just watched her team's 82-76 loss at Indiana on Tuesday, one that dropped the Lynx to 0-3. She saw a team that, up nine after a quarter, get outscored 36-18 in the second. She saw, again, players that were playing below their abilities. She saw a team that, in places, was struggling with confidence.

She saw enough.

"We are going to spend our time …'' she said. And then: "No one's entitled to a starting job. We're going to spend our time tweaking and working and finding the right combination.''

Playing against the Fever (1-2), a team that won only six games last season and is rebuilding with five rookies — two of them starters — the Lynx rallied from 12 down to tie the game in the third. They rallied again to take a two-point lead on Rachel Banham's three-pointer with 7:01 left in the game, only to be outscored 15-7 the rest of the way.

“We know we need to be better. And we need to be better now.”
Jessica Shepard

But, in the second half, the team battled. The group of Banham, Yvonne Turner, Sylvia Fowles, Jessica Shepard and Bridget Carleton played most of that half. This while Angel McCoughtry (six points) and Aerial Powers (four points on 1-for-10 shooting) mainly sat.

Fowles was magnificent, scoring 26 points with 14 rebounds, three assists and four steals. Shepard had another strong game, with 10 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. For a while Banham (14 points), who made four of 11 threes — she was the only Lynx player to hit one — joined them. The Lynx gave up 34 points in the second half after giving up 36 in the second quarter, a number Reeve called a disgrace.

So Reeve rode them, perhaps too long; by game's end they were clearly tired. "They're playing the way we want a Lynx team to play,'' Reeve said. "In terms of their effort and connectedness.''

But the fact is, Reeve is still looking for a third member of the team's Big Three.

"The Big Three does not exist in Minnesota,'' Reeve said. "And that's hard.''

Playing without Odyssey Sims, who is dealing with a personal matter, the Lynx turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 24 Indiana points. The Fever got 26 points from Kelsey Mitchell. Former Lynx guard Crystal Dangerfield scored 10 points with six assists.

"When you work that hard to come back, you have to put in the extra effort to get the stops when you get there,'' Shepard said. "We know we need to be better. And we need to be better now.''

For Reeve, that means work. Tuesday she saw drawn-up plays mishandled. She fears some players are struggling with personal confidence, and that not everybody is connected. "We don't have it throughout the team,'' she said.

"We'll have to battle, and be balanced,'' Reeve added. "I know we can do that. Once we gain belief in ourselves I know we'll be OK. But how you get there is a battle.''

So let the work begin.

The Lynx started last season 0-4 before rallying. Can they do it again?

"At the end of the day we'll continue to work hard,'' Banham said. "We need Minnesota to stick with us, our fans to stick with us. It's not fun, but we're never going to give up.''


  • Backup center Natalie Achonwa injured a hamstring scoring on a fast break late in Sunday's loss to Washington. Reeve said Achonwa could be out three weeks. Rennia Davis was re-signed as a hardship player to replace Achonwa.

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.