Lynx Drop Home Opener

Jonah Ballow
Lynx Editor/Writer

Cheryl Reeve


Lindsay Whalen


Rashanda McCants

Through the first half of Sunday's home opener, the script was nearly perfect. A hometown hero returns to her city with a large group of loyal fans anticipating a triumphant victory. Unfortunately, the Washington Mystics did not get the memo.

Minnesota native Lindsay Whalen made her home debut but the Lynx offense fell flat in the second half as the team suffered an 87-76 defeat to Washington.

"Not what we were looking to do in our home opener," head coach Cheryl Reeve said. "Just didn't go the way that we had hoped, particularly on the offensive end. We were a team today that got a little deflated on the offensive end, shots didn't fall and we didn't move the ball very well."

Whalen registered her first bucket at the 5:13 of the first period and then she connected on a fast break layup to hand Minnesota a 14-9 early lead.

The Lynx were running on all cylinders with aggressive defense, forcing 14 Washington first half turnovers. While the Mystics looked completely flustered, they turned to a defensive scheme that flipped the game upside down in their favor. Washington implored a 2-3 zone, which forced Minnesota to shoot perimeter jumpers, not the strong suite of the team without Seimone Augustus and Candice Wiggins in the lineup.

"Obviously, they found success in their zone. We couldn't put the ball in the hole and we just kind of lost our overall focus on the defensive end. We can still win a basketball game shooting 41%. We just didn't dig in and guard in those rough stretches," Reeve added.

The Mystics severely halted Minnesota offense, limiting the Lynx to just 33 second half points and 33.3 percent from the floor. After holding Minnesota scoreless after the first five minutes of the third quarter, Washington began to take control of the contest. The Mystics relied on Monique Currie for production as she led all scorers with 27 points one night after her squad topped the Eastern Conference champs in Indiana.

During the final 20 minutes, the rest of the Mystics opened their offensive arsenal behind Katie Smith's 16 points. Washington also pounded the glass and posted 10 of its 15 second chance points in the second half.

Offensively, Whalen cooled off to finish with 12 points and seven dimes. Charde Houston led the Lynx by tallying 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor. Rashanda McCants was impressive off the bench, scoring 18 and one member of the team to find success against the stringent zone defense.

"But we will get better. It is one game in a long season. We split this weekend, one and one. You want to be two and zero, but you move on and we have two big games the rest of this week," Whalen stated.

The Lynx will take advantage of two days at the practice facility to prepare for a road game at Seattle on Wednesday night.

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