June 16, 2021 

How turnovers plague the Minnesota Lynx at both ends

'What defense? I didn’t see us play any defense '

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Team graphic displaying a final score of 105-89 from the Minnesota Lynx loss to the Chicago Sky (Photo via Minnesota Lynx Twitter)

“15 points in four minutes! 15 points in four minutes!” 

General manager and head coach, Cheryl Reeve, didn’t need the mic ESPN had on her for the Minnesota Lynx’s Tuesday night matchup against the Chicago Sky. Fans at Target Center and watching at home could audibly hear the frustration in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Unfortunately, the frustration would last throughout the entirety of the game as the Sky went on to win 105-89.

The Lynx couldn’t find an answer to the Sky’s offense, who shot 72.7% in the first quarter and finished the game shooting 57.1%, a season-high.

“What defense? I didn’t see us play any defense,” Reeve responded when asked about her team’s defensive effort. The Lynx allowed the Sky to put up 39 points in the first quarter, the Sky’s highest-scoring first quarter this year.

Things looked like they might turn around in the second quarter, as the Lynx were able to capitalize on some of the Sky’s turnovers and bring the game within two points in the second quarter, but the Sky went on to have an 11-0 run in the final minutes of the second, capitalizing on multiple Lynx lost ball turnovers.

“The transition points that they had were absolutely ridiculous. Our live ball turnovers really led to that and then we had people not really getting back so they just ate off of those tonight.” Forward Napheesa Collier said. Despite the frustrating loss and lack of defense, Collier had an impressive game, finishing the first half with 23 points and 3 rebounds. She’s the third Lynx player to score 23+ points, joining the ranks of Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles.

At the half, the Sky scored 20 points on the Lynx 12 turnovers, compared to the Lynx’s 6 points on the Sky’s 4 turnovers.

The Sky’s momentum carried over, opening the second half with a 12-6 run and went on to widen their gap by as much as 27 points.

“We pretty much let them get what they (wanted).” Center Sylvia Fowles said. The Sky finished the game with a season-high 105 points on the Lynx, scoring 32 of those points off of 20 Lynx turnovers.

The Sky did come into the game with almost their full roster (minus Astou Ndour-Fall, who is overseas) compared to the Lynx who only had 9 players available for the game, including the newly added forward Cierra Burdick, who signed with the team the morning of the game. Burdick earned just under 8 minutes in the game with 6 points and one defensive rebound.

But it’s the turnovers that continue to hurt the Lynx, and Coach Reeve knows it, is continually frustrated by it and accepts responsibility for it. 

“It’s bad coaching.” Reeve said, “That’s who we are. I can’t coach offense. 32 points off turnovers, it’s (happening) every game. So, I have to continue to try to find answers. I’m a bad offensive coach and I’ve got to figure it out.”

It’s the third game in a row the Lynx have had 20+ turnovers in a game.

The Lynx don’t have time to dwell on what went wrong as they head to Texas to face off against the young, athletic Dallas Wings less than 48 hours after their 105-89 loss to the Sky. 

“We have to learn from it.” Collier said, “Dallas is another team that they have really athletic people and they’re gonna have some people that are running so we have to be able to both defend and then be able to get back and transition is something that we’ve been working on from the beginning. So for this to happen, it’s kind of unacceptable.”

The Lynx will face the Wings in back-to-back matchups Thursday, June 17 on CBS Sports and Saturday, June 19 on local networks and League Pass both starting at 7 pm CT.

Written by Alyssa Graham

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