Lynx Look To Bounce Back
Web Editorial Associate
The Lynx's last game at Target Center was one for the record books. The biggest comeback in Lynx history, the team battled back from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Dream 97-93 in two overtimes.
Although they celebrated the win and were proud of the comeback, coach Cheryl Reeve and her players were discontent with their first half play. They knew it would be much harder to overcome such big early-game deficits on the road as they set out for their next stretch of games, and they played like it in San Antonio, getting up early and never relinquishing their lead.
But during Tuesday's game against the Chicago Sky, the Lynx fell into their old habits. They scored the game's first few points, but a 10-1 run got things rolling for Chicago, who led by one at the end of the first quarter but extended the lead to 11 (40-29) by halftime.
Heading into Friday’s matchup in Indiana against the Fever, coach Cheryl Reeve is challenging her club to respond like they’ve done in the past.
"We had a 10-game winning streak come to an end earlier [this season] and we responded then," Reeve said. "As long as I've been here, it’s been a team that responds well to losing. It’s been a very prideful team.”
The Lynx chipped away at that lead after the break and were able to tie it up at 61-61 about a minute into the fourth quarter. But the Sky again pulled away from a Lynx team that was lacking in several statistical categories, most notably second-chance points (17-0, Sky) and points in the paint (40-18, Sky). Minnesota was also outrebounded 31-24.
“There were several possessions after timeouts where they showed poise," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "That’s huge, that’s where momentum swings happen. I thought the most important thing offensively, putting up 83 points, was we didn’t settle for the first jumper off the screen. We penetrated and found open shooters by getting the defense to move by moving the basketball well. Everything at this time of the year is going to get done on the grind, and that starts with defense, but our offense looked good tonight as well.”
Sky guard Epiphanny Prince scored 26 points and added five assists and four rebounds, while Courtney Vandersloot finished with 17 points. Center Carolyn Swords added 11 points in the absence of Sylvia Fowles (calf strain).
"Last time we played [the Lynx], I was staying at home so I couldn’t do anything to help the team," said Epiphanny Prince, who missed six games earlier this season with a foot fracture. "I was just happy to be out there and help them win when we have such a close race with New York.”
Maya Moore scored 18 points and dished seven assists, and Rebekkah Brunson added 17 points. Candice Wiggins scored 14 points off the bench in an effort to compensate for Seimone Augustus' absence (sprained foot). But Reeve said that the Lynx were outworked, plain and simple.
“They played great," Reeve said of Chicago. "They were physical and took it to us. They asserted themselves, and we didn’t respond.”
With the win, the Sky (12-17) tied the Liberty for the fourth-place spot in the East while the Lynx collected their fifth loss of the season and halted their win streak at 11.
But don't expect this team to hang their heads.
Reeve said that the Lynx must use the loss as motivation in their upcoming five games, only one of which will be at Target Center.
"Only thing we can do now is respond," said Moore. "We've started a bad habit of not coming out [with] good efforts in the first half and making story book second-half comebacks. Tonight we couldn’t finish that story book comeback."
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