The Lynx put together their most impressive win of the season on Friday, beating the Connecticut Sun 89-57. That home victory over the best team in the league makes a strong statement about who Minnesota want to be going forward. Here are a few things I noticed…
How can you not start with Minnesota’s defense? They held the Sun to under 14 points in every quarter except for the third, when the Sun tried to rally. Looking at the final product generated by the Lynx’s defensive performance is extremely impressive.
Only one Sun player—Bria Holmes off the bench—scored in double digits. The Sun shot only 30.9 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from three. The Lynx also forced 20 turnovers including five from point guard Jasmine Thomas. Minnesota disrupted the offense at Connecticut’s point of attack and made it impossible for the Sun to do anything they wanted to do.
The Lynx have the potential to be a good offensive team but at their core they need to be a great defensive team to achieve their goals. Friday’s performance is one to build off of.
Sharing The Ball… And Making Them Go It Alone
There was a distinct difference in the two teams that played on Friday. One constantly hunted out the open shot and moved the ball around the court efficiently, the other couldn’t figure out how to execute their offense and struggled to assist on any shots.
The team on the good half of that was the Lynx.
It might be a little unfair to knock a team for a low assist total when they shoot such a low percentage—it’s hard to get assists when nobody is making shots—but it’s a bit of a chicken or the egg situation as well. The Lynx did a phenomenal job finding good shots for themselves, picking up 27 assists as a team. They also bottled up the Sun’s passing game and made it hard for the Sun to get anything they wanted on offense. You can’t get assists on missed shots, but it’s easier to miss shots when the ball isn’t moving, also. Either way, the Lynx did a phenomenal job of isolating Sun players and reducing them to a bunch of individuals instead of a team.
Six Lynx players scored in double figures. Notably, two of those players—Danielle Robinson and Steph Talbot—came off the bench.
Getting more consistent offensive production from everywhere on the roster is a big part of unlocking Minnesota’s potential. With Temi Fagbenle and Seimone Augustus back, the Lynx have legitimate depth at almost every position and when the bench is playing well the Lynx are going to be a handful.
Not every team has the privilege of being able to bring a player like Danielle Robinson off the bench. Robinson and Odyssey Sims are a good combo together, but the change of pace and style that each can bring to the game while the other is on the bench is a great tool as well. Teams are forced to adjust their defense to Robinson’s speed and Sims’ physicality and that’s not an easy task.
Robinson has the talent to be a WNBA starter but she’s actually quite suited to Minnesota’s bench personnel. Lexie Brown and Talbot’s shooting skills help mitigate some of Robinson’s struggles from deep and Fagbenle can run with the best of them as a big. It’s always an adjustment when your role changes, but on Friday Robinson was excellent. She finished with 14 points and six assists.