The game barely was over and already Maya Moore was making a list of things the Lynx had to do better on Wednesday night.
Taking care of the ball.
Rebounding the ball.
Being tighter on defense.
“We need to slow down and play with more poise,” she said.
Much of the above also could be a list of what the Lynx didn’t do Sunday night in their 75-69 loss to the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis in Game 4 of the best-of-five WNBA Finals. The Lynx allowed the Fever to shoot 54.5 percent through three quarters while taking a 12-point lead. The Fever converted 15 Lynx turnovers into 17 points and, with Lynx center Sylvia Fowles on the bench with foul trouble in the crucial third quarter, turned up the intensity, scoring on seven consecutive possessions in a 20-6 run.
It was a run in which the Lynx — with four turnovers in that stretch — definitely did not play with poise.
“We’re going to do better,” said guard Lindsay Whalen, who scored 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting Sunday, by far her most effective game of the series, which moves to Target Center for a decisive Game 5. “We just have to get the ball in, execute our stuff. Give them credit. They played great. They got the win. And now we go home.”
That is a positive for the Lynx. Although the two teams split the first two games in Target Center of this series, the Lynx are 19-2 there in the playoffs under coach Cheryl Reeve.
“We’re not pleased with the way we executed our game plan today,” Moore said Sunday. “But without question, if I was to say where do I want to finish my season, it would be the Target Center. That’s going to be a great opportunity for us and our fans, to really be who we’ve been all season. That’s the beauty of it. We don’t have to be anything more than who we are. We just need to be ourselves at home, and we have a good chance to win.”
The Fever, meanwhile, was feeling very confident after Sunday’s victory. One player after another talked about the grit of a team that has now won five straight elimination games in the 2015 playoffs. Indiana closed out the Eastern Conference finals with a road victory in New York against a Liberty team that had the best record in the league during the regular season.
Indeed, after the win, Indiana leader Tamika Catchings was quick to tell her team not to celebrate too much. Her message: “Don’t’ be satisfied,” she said. “OK, no, I don’t want you all to celebrate. I want you to get focused for the next game.”
Sunday the Lynx closed out the game hard, trimming a 14-point lead to six at the end. They played for much of the game without Fowles.
But they will be at home, with Whalen coming off a strong game.
Judging from the way this series has gone, it should be compelling. After Sunday’s game Moore was asked if she could step back from the disappointing loss and appreciate how good Game 5 could be.
Well, not really, she said. “But I hear you,” she said. “It’s great for everybody to watch.”
At least the Lynx will have a chance to do something they didn’t do while winning titles in 2011 and 2013 — win a title at home.
“It’s been a great series,” said Reeve, who was a part of two Game 5s as an assistant in Detroit. “It’s absolutely been a great series. Four really, really hard-fought games. Why not go to a Game 5? It’s been that good a series.’’