Even though the game was months ago, before the Lynx hit their stride, coach Cheryl Reeve had her team watch the entire first half of their home game with the Chicago Sky back on June 15.
"We hadn't found our identity, and they scored 100 points on us,'' Bridget Carleton said. "At Target Center, which we're not proud of.''
Fifty-eight points. That's how many Chicago scored in those 20 minutes. That and the 105 the Sky dropped on the Lynx at home are both season highs by an opponent. The Sky ended up shooting 57 percent that day.
The Lynx will host the Sky again Sunday in a second-round playoff game at Target Center. To be sure, these Lynx are a far different team than the one that got beat 105-89 back in June. The Lynx were 4-6 after that game ended, and have gone 18-4 since. That includes a 101-95 victory in Chicago on Aug. 21.
But the Sky's balanced attack, the ability of the guards Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley and Kahleah Copper to penetrate a defense, attack the rim or drive and dish will give the Lynx all they can handle.
In that 101-95 victory Vandersloot and Quigley combined to score 54 points on 20-for-30 shooting, hit seven of 10 threes and total 11 assists.
"They're averaging 100 points on us," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "We don't have any answers at this point to what we do. We thought we exerted a lot of effort to guard Quigley in the last game, and she and Vandersloot combined for 54. So we don't have answers. It's unfortunate it's a single-elimination game. We don't have much time to figure it out.''
Expect Reeve and her staff to have a plan that she's loathe to share.
A lot has changed, even since that second game. Sky star Candace Parker played in the first game, but not the second. At her best she's a playmaking big who can put even more pressure on a team. The Sky scored 86 points in the paint in the two games while also making 21 of 50 three-pointers.
On the Lynx side, Aerial Powers missed the first meeting. In the second, her first game back from right thumb surgery, she played just 14 minutes.
Powers is now integrated into the starting five and has averaged 18.8 points in her past six games. The Lynx — thanks to rising contributions from guard Crystal Dangerfield, Powers and Natalie Achonwa — have a more balanced offense. While the Lynx have been out-scored by a large margin on three-pointers, they have made up for much of that by getting to the free throw line; they set season highs in attempts (33) and makes (28) in that Aug. 21 victory.
But slowing Chicago's fast-paced offense will be the key.
"They have run-and-gun players,'' center Sylvia Fowles said. "So we have to be cautious of that. We have to make sure we're taking care of the ball and playing our schemes. That's the most important thing.''
Chicago was the only team the Lynx played just two times this season. So there won't be, as Reeve said, overexposure. Still, the teams are familiar with each other and know each other well; this is the first time Reeve will coach against a former assistant (Chicago coach James Wade) in a playoff game.
"I think both coaching staffs, you look at it, learn some things,'' Reeve said. "But you also look at trends, like people running different things, starting to feature things differently. But, at the end of the day, both teams do what they do.''