The Next Eight Games Could Make or Break Lynx Season

(image credit: courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter)

There’s no question that the 2021 regular season didn’t start as the Minnesota Lynx had hoped. Riding into the new year with a new-look roster and championship aspirations, Minnesota quickly came back down to reality following a winless 0-4 start. Last Sunday, that process of trying to right the ship began when the Lynx recorded their win, an overtime win over the Connecticut Sun at Target Center.

To Minnesota’s credit, its slate of opponents to begin the year wasn’t exactly the easiest, with all games coming against teams that will make the playoffs. The Lynx fell to the Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty, and Seattle Storm (twice) to start the year before taking down a very talented Connecticut squad for their first win.

“Coaching after a win in general, the mood is different,” Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said this week. “In our case, being winless and having the hunger that we had and the desperation we had to win (last Sunday’s) game, we needed it. For our environment, for our wanting to get back to work as we have a few days before our next game. When you’re winless, coaching after a loss can be really hard because you start to wonder what they believe in, if they believe in themselves individually and if they believe in what we are doing collectively. In this situation, there’s no question about it, practicing after a win was really good for this group.”

Minnesota hopes cracking into the win column will provide some positive momentum now entering the month of June. The good news is that their schedule will become more favorable in the coming weeks as they try and turn things around.

In the next few weeks, this upcoming stretch could very well make or break the season for Minnesota.

Over the next three weeks or so, the eight games over that span won’t come against the top 2-3 teams in the league like what the Lynx have seen to begin the year. Rather, most of the teams are currently sitting around or below the .500 mark, making this stretch key for Minnesota to turn things around.

Beginning Friday through June 23, the Lynx will take on the Atlanta Dream (4-2) three times, and the Washington Mystics (2-4), Los Angeles Sparks (2-3), Chicago Sky (2-5), and Dallas Wings (2-4) twice. After that span, Minnesota wraps up the first half before the Olympic Break from July 15 to Aug. 11 by playing Phoenix and Las Vegas Aces twice each, as well as Dallas and Los Angeles.

“I think these days will prove valuable for us, and we will have a chance to start getting into a rhythm with games,” Reeve said of the extra practice time the team has had lately to try and figure things out. “Hopefully, we will be ready for it with the extra work that we’ve been putting in.”

Although Minnesota has had a tough stretch to begin the season, both with the opposition it has faced and the record that has followed that five-game span to kick off the new year, these next few weeks could determine the team’s outlook going forward. After this span, we will be talking about Minnesota having turned things around and climbing up the WNBA standings or talking about what has gone wrong for the Lynx after having high hopes for the summer.

“When we trust each other, and we fly around, we can win games,” Napheesa Collier said. “The good news is we are beginning on an upward trend, so hopefully, we can continue that with the next (game).”

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(image credit: courtesy of the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter)

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