In their first game at Target Center since 2016, the Lynx picked up a win over the Chicago Sky on Saturday night. The game was sloppy at times, and it was clear that the team still has some wrinkles to iron out, but there were also moments where the Lynx looked every bit as good as advertised ahead of what will certainly be a competitive season.
Minnesota led the entire game and ended up winning 87-58. The highlight of the Lynx’s night has to be their defense—they only allowed eight points in the first quarter, and their re-tooled backcourt lived up to its potential as an incredibly difficult group to score against. The Lynx forced 22 turnovers and held the Sky to 32.3-percent shooting from three. Minnesota also won the rebounding battle 38-28.
On the offensive end, the Lynx were led by Sylvia Fowles (17 points) and Maya Moore (15 points). Moore showed no signs of rust despite the fact that she hasn’t gone through a full practice with the team this season. Alexis Jones was also impressive—she consistently hit her spots and showed a confidence moving off the ball that led to a lot of good looks. She finished with 14 points on 5-8 shooting and 2-3 from three.
On the less positive side, the Lynx turned the ball over 19 times. Coach Cheryl Reeve was unhappy with her team’s turnovers last weekend against the Mystics as well, so the Lynx will undoubtedly hear about their carelessness at their next practice.
If this game is any indication, the Lynx’s new members will play large roles this season. Danielle Robinson was the first person off the bench, and despite a few careless turnovers, seriously impacted the game in the Lynx’s favor. Her speed with the ball gives the Lynx such a unique look off the bench compared to Lindsay Whalen’s more methodical approach, and Robinson is a creative passer who is always looking for her teammates. Tanisha Wright didn’t have a particularly good shooting night, and Reeve said postgame that she would like Wright to take more shots, but Wright certainly impacted the game in other ways. Wright is an excellent defender and finished +22 on the night—the highest on the team besides Moore and Fowles. Lynetta Kizer only played two minutes in this one before tweaking her back, but looked solid in her limited run.
Carlie Wagner wasn’t all that aggressive in finding her shot tonight, but she let the game come to her and finished 2-2 from the field including a crazy circus shot that got the crowd going nuts. Wagner can definitely score, and the Target Center crowd loved it when she did.
Tonight was exactly what you want to see from a preseason game. Every player who saw action scored, and the team looked good, but there are also some clear areas for improvement that can be addressed in practice. The Lynx have a week to clean up their rougher edges before taking on the Sparks in their regular season opener next Sunday. As of now, we are seven days, 18 hours, and 39 minutes away from tip, not that I’m counting. The roster will also be trimmed down sometime in the next few days, so we’ll update you with that information when it comes along.