The Lynx lost to the Seattle Storm on Sunday night, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Here’s what worked and what didn’t from the game…
Worked: Odyssey Sims
There aren’t many players who can do what Sims did on Sunday night. She poured in 30 points while shooting 78.6 percent from the field and hitting both of her three-point attempts. While not everything has gone the Lynx’s way this season, their acquisition of Sims is one of a few notable exceptions. She has been phenomenal the entire season but has pushed her game to a whole new level in the last few weeks.
The way that Sims uses her strength to get into the paint and initiate contact is huge for a Minnesota team that struggles at times to get to the line. Sims shot seven of Minnesota’s nine free-throws (that they only had nine free throws is a different conversation…) and has been the one on the team this whole year that forces the issue when necessary. Sims has completely changed the trajectory of her career this season with the Lynx and it’s paying dividends for both parties.
Didn’t Work: Three-Point Shooting Discrepancies
The Lynx just can’t seem to figure out their three-point shooting and three-point defense. Minnesota shot just six threes on Sunday. The Lynx don’t really have anyone that can be considered a volume shooter on the team (excepting Lexie Brown who doesn’t play enough minutes to take all that many shots), so it falls to players like Steph Talbot, Napheesa Collier and Damiris Dantas to take more three-point shots than they might otherwise be inclined to. When opponents take those opportunities away, the Lynx simply don’t have the deadeye shooters to force three-point numbers up.
On defense, the Lynx have struggled to close out on the perimeter. It seems like players are worried about getting beat inside, but they have to trust their help to have their back and get out on three-point shooters. While the Storm only hit eight threes, too many of those were uncontested or only lightly contested.
Worked: Napheesa Collier On Natasha Howard
Natasha Howard has had the Lynx’s number this year, but Collier, playing at power forward for much of the game, did an excellent job on Howard, holding her to 13 points, six rebounds and an assist. Collier did a good job on the other end as well, finishing with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Collier has been the glue that holds the Lynx together this season. Her positional flexibility and ability to do so much on the court make her one of the most valuable pieces to the Lynx. She is also already one of the best defensive forwards in the league. The Lynx’s future with Collier in the fold is extremely bright.
Didn’t Work: Disrupting The Storm’s Offensive Flow
The Storm managed to get six players in double figures. That’s very contrary to what the Lynx try to do on defense. Much of Minnesota’s defensive system is predicated on disrupting movement and making it difficult for opponents find their spots. That didn’t happen on Sunday. While there were some individually good defensive performances that’s not enough with a team that has the shooting that the Storm have. The message going forward? Trust the scheme, disrupt passing lanes, make things difficult.
Worked: Moving The Ball
It’s been a real reversal of fortune for the Lynx who started the season as one of the league’s best teams on defense and worst on offense. Lately it’s been the opposite. While it would obviously be great to get the defense back to where it should be, Minnesota has quietly become a very solid offensive team. In particular, the backcourt has been excellent at distributing the ball. Danielle Robinson had nine assists last night. Since moving to the bench, she has averaged almost five dimes per game.
On Sunday the Lynx had 24 assists as a team—that means that all but seven of their made field goals were assisted—and they shot 50.8 percent from the field. The Lynx get good shots and they have been hitting them. The next step is figuring out a way to get more three-point field goals.