A few weeks ago, the Minnesota Lynx were in the tail end of completing a road stretch to kick off the August schedule, spending the first six out of eight games of the month away from their home crowd at Target Center.
The Lynx, still in pursuit of trying to clinch their ninth straight playoff berth at the time, had lost three games in a row to bump them down to eighth and final spot in the postseason picture.
Minnesota looked to be hitting a serious bump in the road at one of the most important times of the regular season.
“Every game that we play together, when it’s really hard, it just kind of builds who you are as a team and trying to get through difficult times,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said. “We had to find a way and they weren’t going to take no for an answer.”
The Lynx were looking for something to give them a spark to try and gain some momentum to finish up the regular-season schedule and heading into the playoffs in early September. As of late, Minnesota has found that spark and has in return started to turn things around prior to the start of the postseason.
Following that rough road stretch to kick off the August portion of the schedule, the Lynx have finished out the month by returning home for a four-game homestand in downtown Minneapolis.
Entering Sunday’s game against Indiana three-fourths of the way through that homestand, Minnesota has won a WNBA-best three in a row while officially clinching its spot in the postseason once again last week.
“(Playing at home) is part of us being a hard team to play against,” Reeve said. “What (the crowd) has been providing us in terms of energy and the difficulty for our opponents.”
With just a few games remaining in the regular season, are the Lynx peaking at the right time of the year and playing some of their best basketball of the summer? They certainly seem to think so.
“I am very proud of our team and the way that we have been performing at home,” Sylvia Fowles said. “I think we know what it takes for us to get going and we are clicking on all cylinders. That’s always a good thing.”
As we head into the Labor Day Weekend, Minnesota sits at 16-15 on the season while maintaining a hold onto the No. 6 seed in the WNBA standings.
The Lynx carry a half-game lead over both the Seattle Storm (15-15) and Phoenix Mercury (15-15) in the standings with three games left on their schedule.
“This is the time to gain momentum going into the playoffs. The goal is what we set out for at the beginning of the season, but right now, it’s one game at a time,” Danielle Robinson said. “We have to make sure that, the same things we have been doing, we have to carry that over.”
In the final three games, however, Minnesota will continue to be put to the test while going back on the road to finish out the regular-season slate. After Sunday’s game at home against the Fever, the Lynx will travel to Phoenix on Sept. 6 and Los Angeles on Sept. 8 to round out of the year.
It’s a make-or-break time of the year for the Lynx when it comes to trying to grab the best possible seed for the playoffs next month. But they believe they are peaking at just the right time during one of the most important stretches of the season.
“Everyone knows we have had highs and lows this year,” Napheesa Collier said. “There’s no better time to get on a great high than at the end of the regular season and going into playoffs and continuing it into the playoffs.”