After putting together an underwhelming performance against the Connecticut Sun on Friday night at Target Center, the Minnesota Lynx followed it up with yet another disappointing game and finish on Sunday evening in Minneapolis.
The Lynx jumped out to an early lead over the Las Vegas Aces and were rolling early on against one of the most potent offenses in the WNBA, but ultimately folded late in the second half to lose 80-75 at home.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, there’s some hurting in that locker room,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “I told them I liked the way we played, we just have to stick with it.”
Minnesota, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half, allowed Las Vegas to go off on a 16-3 run over the final 4:47 in the loss.
“In the last five minutes, we just need to learn how to execute. We didn’t get stops in the second half the way we got stops early in the game,” Reeve said. “They have some good players. That’s a team that everyone thinks will win a championship. … We felt like we should have won that game.”
With the defeat, the Lynx extended their losing streak to four straight games. All four of those losses have been by six points or less.
In the first half of Sunday’s game, Minnesota was able to have control of the game on its home court. The Lynx played well on both ends of the floor in the first two quarters to carry a 39-35 advantage into halftime.
Minnesota, which shot 40.5 percent from the field in the opening half, held Las Vegas to 34.5 percent shooting and forced them into 12 first-half turnovers. The Lynx also held a 20-8 advantage in points in the paint in the first half alone.
In the second half, however, Las Vegas was able to control the flow of the game to battle back and take the contest on the road for its second win in a row.
After trailing by four at halftime and shooting under 40 percent, the Aces outscored the Lynx 45-36 in the second half and shot 46.7 percent from the field along with five 3s to complete the comeback.
“We’re not losing by that much, so it’s the little things that we’re not doing so well,” Sylvia Fowles. “In the last five minutes of the game, we need to make sure that we are locked in and stay focused at the task at hand. … This is a time where we need each other.”
Damiris Dantas did a little bit of everything for Minnesota to lead the way with a season-high 22 points and six assists.
Odyssey Sims added 14 points and five assists, Danielle Robinson had 12 points, four assists and three rebounds, Sylvia Fowles had eight points and nine rebounds and Naphessa Collier finished with eight points, five rebounds and three assists for the Lynx, which shot 42.6 percent from the field.
Kayla McBride had 22 points and five rebounds to lead the way for the Aces. Kelsey Plum tallied 21 points and four rebounds, while Liz Cambage finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for Las Vegas, which shot 40.7 percent from the field.
The Aces finished with a large advantage at the free throw line in the win, shooting 24 of 27 from the line compared to the Lynx finishing 9 of 10. Minnesota did a nice job of holding Las Vegas in check in the paint, outscoring the Aces 32-26 in the paint.
“The way that we played tonight, we’re proud of. We just need to finish out games now,” Danielle Robinson said after the loss. “We are always going to play hard. … That’s something that we did better of and we’ve hung our hat on these first games of the season.”
Minnesota will look to snap its four-game losing streak when it finishes up its three-game homestand against the New York Liberty at 7 p.m. Saturday night back at Target Center. The game will be aired locally on Fox Sports North and NBA TV.
“The only way you can learn sometimes is to go backwards and to fail,” Reeve said. “I’d prefer that not be the case, but I’m hoping that we are in these situations and we are learning. But right now, we need to have a sizable lead to finish off a game.”