ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Cheryl Reeve knows Lynx are last in WNBA standings because they’re last in defense

That was the primary focus of Monday’s practice — a needed day of work to shore up what Reeve identified as slippage on the defensive end

Minnesota-Lynx.gif
We are part of The Trust Project.

It’s not hard for Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve to identify why exactly her team is currently at the bottom of the WNBA standings heading into Tuesday’s home tilt with New York.

Minnesota is last in the WNBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 108.7 points per 100 possessions.

“They go hand in hand,” Reeve said of that number and the team’s 1-6 record.

So often, the culprit for Minnesota is one particularly bad quarter. In its loss Saturday to Dallas, it was the third quarter. In those 10 minutes, the Wings sported an offensive rating of 200 — meaning they averaged two points per every trip down the floor. That’s about as bad as you can be defensively.

Similar quarter-long meltdowns have occurred in losses to Las Vegas, Indiana and Seattle.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s historically bad,” Reeve said. “This is not like once in seven games this happened. The number of times we’ve given up that level of, just fall apart … that’s what we’re working on. That’s what we’re hoping to do better with.”

That was the primary focus of Monday’s practice — a needed day of work to shore up what Reeve identified as slippage on the defensive end over the team’s recent road trip that featured only travel days between games.

But what’s concerning to Reeve is the primary struggles have come in effort departments. It’s rebounding and transition defense. Minnesota isn’t good at either. So often those categories are determined by will. That’s why the coach has questioned whether her team has enough of that.

MORE MINNESOTA LYNX COVERAGE:
Pro
Moriah Jefferson's triple-double leads Minnesota with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
Pro
Kayla McBride and Jessica Shepard each scored 15 points for Minnesota, which also got 12 from Sylvia Fowles, 11 from Moriah Jefferson and 10 points from Natalie Achonwa.
Pro
Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles -- recently named a starter and a co-captain for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game -- played for the first time since June 7
Pro
Minnesota's 32-16 advantage in points off the bench proved key in countering Skylar Diggins-Smith's game-high 25 points
Pro
Leading 93-91 with 16 seconds to play, forward Dearica Hamby knocked down a corner 3-pointer for the Aces (13-2) to stave off a pesky effort from Minnesota (3-13)
Pro
Minnesota (3-12) gave itself a chance to snap its three-game losing skid with stifling defense down the stretch, holding Seattle to just five points for the final 5:07 of action
Pro
Washington also held the Lynx (3-10) to just 32.8 percent shooting, including 6-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Pro
Fowles, 36, playing her 15th and final WNBA season, is averaging 16.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in 12 games for the Lynx.
Pro
The Lynx (3-9) had beaten the Liberty 84-78 on May 24 at Target Center and 84-77 this past Sunday in Brooklyn despite 31 points from Ionescu.
Pro
But through 10 games, the wing has entrenched herself as a cog in the Lynx’s machine through her production and versatility.

“And that’s what we’re trying to find out. That’s what we said, ‘Hey, if you don’t have it, it’s really going to show itself, and you’re probably not going to have a job,'” Reeve said. “People lose jobs when you don’t do your job. That’s just how it works. I don’t want to be in that situation. I want this team to understand. … We’re not understanding the impact of our lack of passion for what we’re doing. We’re so pedestrian in so many elements of what we do. We’re just out there. And you can’t win like that.”

At any level.

“It’s not that you have to do extraordinary things. You do ordinary things very well, at a high level, passionately,” Reeve said. “And we lack passion a lot. And so, I always do that, where I look around individually and go, ‘OK, who is it? Who is not passionate about what they do?’ And I have a hard time finding people who aren’t passionate about what they do. They love the game. But they’re not performing passionately, with their teammates.”

The good news for Minnesota was Reeve thought the Lynx took a step in the right direction in Monday’s practice.

“It doesn’t matter, though,” Lynx guard Aerial Powers said. “We have to play and do the right things (Tuesday).”

ADVERTISEMENT

______________________________________________________

This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

What to read next
Pro
Towns will be handsomely rewarded for his consistent improvement and commitment to Minnesota with a four-year, $214 million supermax extension
Pro
The 28-year-old is belovingly referred to as “Slo-Mo” — because while the 6-foot-9 forward had a vast skillset, he succeeds in spite of a lack of speed
Pro
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek survived a scare against Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove to advance, while Kyrgios sets up Tsitsipas clash
Pro
“This is probably the most difficult most, I would say, gut-wrenching … series I think I’ve ever been a part of,” manager Rocco Baldelli said