The Lynx are still searching, coach Cheryl Reeve said Tuesday night. For flow on offense, effort on defense. For an identity.
That's a lot.
"We're still trying to figure things out,'' Reeve said after an 86-75 loss to the New York Liberty at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. "We're still trying to figure out who we are.''
The Lynx withstood a 15-0 Liberty run in the first quarter and led 47-45 at halftime. But a 10-point third quarter — in which they shot 3-for-18 — put them in a seven-point hole. Within 66-64 with 7:17 left in the game, the Liberty hit four three-pointers in a 16-4 run to put the game away.
As a result, the Liberty is 3-0 for the first time since 2007, which is also the last time the Lynx were 0-2.
Sabrina Ionescu, the top pick in the 2020 draft whose rookie season was cut short by injury, had her first WNBA triple-double with 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. With her running a devastating pick-and-roll attack, the Liberty's ball-movement created open threes all night. And New York, made more as the game went on.
The Lynx? Sylvia Fowles had a 26-point, 11-rebound, 11-for-17 night. The rest of the team? Only 17-for-57 overall, 3-for-23 on three-pointers.
What's the problem? International play kept Kayla McBride (16 points) and Napheesa Collier out of training camp; Collier is still serving her COVID-19 quarantine. But other teams are dealing with similar situations early this season.
Reeve mentioned a lack of conditioning.
"I don't see a team that's in very good shape,'' she said. " … Either that or teams are playing harder than us and have a greater will.''
Reeve tweaked the starting lineup, starting Aerial Powers and Kayla McBride at guard and having Crystal Dangerfield come off the bench.
"For us the effort should always be there,'' McBride said. "We have times where it is there, and we're good, connected, and times we're not.''
The game-sealing run came with back-to-back threes by Sami Whitcomb (13 points), a three by Ionescu, and a two-pointer by Betnijah Laney (20 points). After a Lynx turnover, Ionescu's two free throws with 3:06 left put New York up 82-67.
"We need to be way tougher on the defensive end,'' Powers said.
The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.