So far, the 2015 Lynx season has been a bit different than in recent years.
The team still is winning. After Thursday’s dramatic come-from-behind victory in Seattle, the Lynx are 6-2. But there have been stretches, from the beginning, when coach Cheryl Reeve believes her team wasn’t playing its peak.
“I feel good about us doing the right things,” Reeve said Friday. “They’re putting in the work and working through us not being our very best. We know that, during the course of the season, there are ebbs and flows. But we’re not accustomed to starting out this way.’’
Perhaps what happened Thursday in Seattle will change that.
The Lynx, down 18 in the second quarter and down 16 early in the third, staged the biggest come-from-behind road victory in franchise history. After allowing Seattle to shoot 54.1 percent and score 51 points in the first half, the Lynx held the Storm to 32.0 percent shooting and 22 points in the second. Over the final 16 minutes of the game the Lynx outscored Seattle 32-13, with Seimone Augustus scoring 14 of her 24 points in that time. And with guard Lindsay Whalen having perhaps her best game of the season.
Turns out all that needed to happen was the team getting upset.
Reeve used a more graphic term to explain how her team reacted to circumstances, including some perceived botched calls. She said Augustus and Whalen first got angry and then got aggressive.
The Lynx will need to continue that wave of emotion in Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Mercury at Target Center. The Mercury, 3-4 during the seven-game suspension served by center Brittney Griner for a domestic violence incident, will have Griner back for the first time.
Griner’s return is expected to be a catalyst for the Mercury, already strong in the frontcourt: Phoenix got one of those two wins against the Lynx.
But Reeve is more interested in how her team survived a difficult first month of the season.
“June was one of our hardest months,” Reeve said. “If you look at our schedule and not coming out of training camp the way we wanted to, in terms of health. We have five of our first eight on the road, and not being at our best, in terms of where Maya [Moore] is or Lindsay, where we’re used to seeing them.’’
Whalen scored 16 points with six assists Thursday. Moore (4-for-14) had another difficult shooting night, but her one three-pointer came late in the game with the Lynx down three. Then backup center Damiris Dantas scored five straight points in the final minute to help seal the win.
“We’re OK,’’ Reeve said. “There is some light at the end of the tunnel.’’
Starting Saturday the Lynx play seven of 10 games at home.
Saturday’s game could show whether the Lynx, having survived a difficult start, are ready to find a groove.
“We just need to keep playing,” Reeve said. “Keep working hard. That’s the only thing I know. Keep preparing hard, and good things will happen.’’