After three straight games against winless teams, the Lynx will get likely their biggest test of the young season Saturday in Seattle.
The two teams are 1-2 in the league standings. The Lynx are the only undefeated team at 6-0. But the Storm has won four straight after a season-opening loss to Los Angeles in which both Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird missed with injuries.
With Bird and Stewart in the lineup the Storm is undefeated. Seattle is second in the league and the Lynx fourth in offensive rating. The Lynx are second and the Storm fifth in defensive rating. The Lynx and Seattle are 2-3 in net rating.
So these are two very efficient teams. Both teams have great veteran point guards in Bird and Lindsay Whalen. The Lynx have a red-hot center in Sylvia Fowles. Seattle has second-year sensation Stewart, who has center size (6-5) and guard skills; Rebekkah Brunson is likely to draw that defensive assignment.
“I think all of us knew Seattle finished the season strong last year, found their identity,’’ Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It’s not a surprise they’d be a team that would come in and be doing well.’’
The Lynx will fly to Seattle early Friday and practice there.
Reeve is obviously happy her team is undefeated. But there are areas where she said she needs to see improvement.
“I like that we’re finding ways to win,’’ she said. “While not necessarily playing, quote, our best. I think we’ve had games where we’ve played very well, for sure. It’s not going to be every night you play your best. But, on the nights that maybe we’re off a little for whatever reason, we’re finding a way.’’
Reeve wants her team getting back to some things it has traditionally done well. For example:
--Transition offense. The Lynx are playing good defense, but that’s not translating into a lot of transition points. This has always been a big staple of the team’s success, getting easy baskets. “We have to climb in that area,’’ Reeve said. “We’re not getting a lot of fast-break points. That will help our field goal percentage. We can’t put so much pressure on our defense.’’
--Cutting down on turnovers. The Lynx are turning the ball over 15.5 times a game, fourth-worst in the league.
--Better defensive rebounding. This was a problem in the first couple games, but has improved. Reeve wants to see continued improvement there.