Select Team

Lynx Feature: Rebounding from Defeat

Featured: Rebounding from Defeat

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Fast starts were the key to Minnesotas two early-season wins over the Seattle Storm at Target Center. In their first two meetings, the Lynx outscored the Storm by a combined 42-17 in the first quarters, holding Seattle to 6-of-31 shooting during those two first periods.

Sunday was a different story.

The Storm came out intense in front of their home crowd, challenged the Lynx early and came away with a 65-62 win at Key Arena in Seattle. The win snapped Minnesotas league-record 10-game winning streak to start the season and halted its 13-game regular season winning streak dating back to 2011.

The Lynx opened up the game shooting 4-for-16 from the field and fell behind by as many as 17 points in the first half before mounting a comeback that brought them to within 63-62 with 16 seconds left.

It was a matter of us not responding in the first half, coach Cheryl Reeve said. In that first five minutes, when a team is punching you in the face, punching you in the face, it doesnt usually take us that long to respond. It took us 20 minutes before we decided to respond.

Now the key for Minnesota (10-1) is to use their second-half response to their advantage as they return home Thursday for a matchup with the New York Liberty. The Lynx outscored Seattle 33-22 in the final 20 minutes Sunday, thanks to matching Seattles defensive intensity and getting key stops and rebounds that helped Minnesota climb back into contention.

Reeve said the team wasnt worried about being able to come backtheyve seen enough examples of teams recovering from big deficits to know its possible, including San Antonio rebounding from 21 points down to cut Minnesotas lead to 2 with seconds left.

The problem was Minnesota waited too long to make its move.

I was very happy in the second half, but disappointed we didnt respond in the first half, Reeve said.

The biggest difference between Sundays loss and many of Minnesotas early-season victories came in the paint and in its shooting efficiency.

Minnesota leads the league with a 50.0 percent shooting percentage and is first in the league with a 39.7 percent efficiency from 3-point range. On Sunday, the Lynx shot 37.5 percent from the field and hit 3-of-12 from beyond the arcall of which came in the second half.

In the paint, Minnesota has dominated opponents by corralling rebounds and owning a significant points advantage. On Sunday, the Lynx edged Seattle 26-24 in the points in the paint department.

Keeping them out of the paint was good, Storm coach Brian Agler said. I just think that some of the intangibles were more importantsome of the loose balls and long rebounds, just staying in some rotations defensively. Thats the stuff you dont see on the stat sheet.

Reeve said Seattle and its crowd had a lot to do with Minnesotas first defeat.

I thought Seattle played really hard and were far more determined than we were to win the game, Reeve said. We didnt show up until the second half, and that was a little disappointing. But Seattle earned it. They played really, really well and they hung their hats on their defense [Sunday] and that gave them a chance to win the game.

The Lynx will now move on with two home games this week against the Liberty and Sky, and during the rest of their Road to Repeat they wont have the questions surrounding a bid for an undefeated season. Now they simply need to take one game at a time, starting with the Liberty.

Forward Maya Moore said the Lynx see the distinction between Sundays two halves and what they need to do to rebound.

The second half is who we want to be and who we are, Moore said. For whatever reason, we couldnt get connected in the first half enough for a very hungry and motivated Seattle team. But thats what happens when we dont bring everything that we have for 40 minutes. Were disappointed in ourselves, but such respect for Seattle for coming in and doing what they needed to do.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.