The Lynx took care of business on Tuesday night, beating the New York Liberty 89-73 on the road. It was an impressive all-around performance to get the Lynx back on the right track after a loss to the Mystics over the weekend, but a few things stood out in particular. Here’s what I noticed…
Minnesota’s Bench Is Trending Up
Danielle Robinson checked in for Seimone Augustus midway through the first quarter and made an instant impact. The way Robinson runs the floor next to Minnesota’s bench unit is extremely fun to watch and it seems like Robinson’s move to the second unit has worked out well for all parties involved.
Robinson’s passing and speed open things up for her teammates and the shooting threat from Lexie Brown and Steph Talbot (more on her later) in turn opens the floor up for Robinson. Temi Fagbenle is also a fantastic pairing with Robinson and she has an impressive post arsenal that she can deploy as she doesn’t tend to draw double teams like the Lynx’s post starters do.
Having an effective bench is a big part of being a successful team in the WNBA. The Lynx certainly had that on Tuesday—the second unit scored 47 points and undeniably handed Minnesota the win. If Robinson, Talbot and co. can keep their play up they are going to make a difference down the stretch.
The Individual Defense Was Impressive
While Minnesota’s overall defensive team defensive numbers weren’t as strong as they have been at times this season, the Lynx did a great job of stopping the right people on Tuesday. Tina Charles was held to seven points and only one assist (credit Damiris Dantas for a lot of that) and Kia Nurse, who has torched the Lynx this season, only scored 11 points and shot just 33 percent from the field. That performance shows a good command of the scouting report and understanding of personnel on the part of the Lynx.
It’s hard on defense to stop everyone—inevitably someone you didn’t expect might burn you (see: Rebecca Allen), but stopping the opposing team’s sure things is extremely important. You are more likely to win when you disrupt the opposition’s best players. Head coach Cheryl Reeve has to be impressed with the way the Lynx internalized their game notes and stopped up New York’s stars.
A Moment Of Appreciation For Steph Talbot
Throughout the entire season, Reeve has had a ton of praise for Talbot. The main word Reeve uses to describe Talbot is “competitor.” Sometimes players who are shooters don’t get enough credit for the other things they do on the floor and Talbot is one of those players. Watch Talbot play and you will see her involved in every scramble for a loose ball, every contested rebound and she is a tough, physical defender who puts her body on the line for the team. Essentially, she’s Reeve’s type of player.
This isn’t to say that Talbot’s shooting isn’t impressive. She hit a few “how did she do that?” three-pointers on Tuesday and ended up going 4-for-8 from deep. While Talbot may have been a little gun shy to start the season that has come to an end. She has hit a three in 12 of the last 15 games and has hit multiple threes in eight of those contests. It seems like the Lynx have really found a nice piece to build with in Talbot.