It is not easy to do what the Lynx did over the weekend.
On Saturday, Minnesota went into the home of one of the best teams in the WNBA and earned a win off a gritty and relentless performance on both ends of the floor.
Head coach Cheryl Reeve was extremely proud of her team’s effort. This is the kind of performance she’s been looking for over the last few weeks when the Lynx seemed so close to being able to put out a great performance but little things kept hanging them up.
“Winning a game on the road, the mental toughness, as I told them, I thought that was an exceptional game. There were a couple times when I thought, ‘Uh oh, it’s about to go the wrong way,’ and we just answered it. That was probably the most enjoyable part about that, was just to see that they had a will to win together,” she said.
It was especially encouraging to see the Lynx offense—which looked out of sync and turnover prone earlier in the season—clicking so well against a solid defensive team.
“We’ve seen this in the last five games—our offense is the second best in the league, second to Washington. Our effective field goal percentage, the moments in the game, executing on offense, if you go back to the beginning of the season and you look at now that’s been a big reason why we’ve been able to go get a game on the road,” said Reeve.
The Lynx know how to win tough games. Now they have to do it on a consistent basis. There are a few key areas, (rebounding comes to mind) that still need some cleanup, but it’s clear that when the Lynx are firing on all cylinders they are as dangerous as any team in the league.
“We have checklists that we go through every game and whenever we get those we win the game,” said Napheesa Collier. “Rebounding, points in the paint, things like that, if we check off each of those lists, we’re almost guaranteed to win, it’s just us locking in on the game plan, knowing what we have to do and executing that.”
After leading England to a third-place finish at EuroBasket, Temi Fagbenle will soon make her return to the Lynx. She is currently headed back to England and will be back in Minnesota soon.
Though the exact timing is unclear, what is clear is that when she does come back to the Lynx, Fagbenle will have a role large to play. With dominant EuroBasket and Polish League league campaigns behind her, Fagbenle has a lot of momentum. The opportunity is there too—the Lynx need depth at the forward and center positions and Fagbenle can play both.
“We need her here. Especially that position, we need that position badly. She’s going to get great opportunity when she gets here,” said Reeve. “That’s why I think it’s important that Temi has this momentum. I’ve got to be able to use it. Her getting here soon will allow her to do that.”
The Lynx saw towards the end of last season how impactful a healthy and engaged Fagbenle can be on their roster and incorporating her back into the rotation will be a priority upon her return.
- Odyssey Sims has put together a nice stretch of games and has developed a real knack for finding her teammates in good spots. We’ll have more on her soon, but she deserves a shout out here.
- Asia Taylor had a big bucket against Connecticut and both her and Kenisha Bell have been awesome presences at practice. They’re athletic and they play very hard which is very valuable.
- Reeve said that she still likes Collier more at the small forward position even though she’s been playing a lot of four. Damiris Dantas’ eventual return from injury and Fagbenle’s return from overseas will help make that positional stability for Collier more possible.