Since the Lynx first began their nearly annual trip to the WNBA Finals in 2011, they never have lost more than four games at home in a season. They’ve gone 16-1 once, 15-2 four times, 14-3, 13-4.
But, with seven home games left this regular season, in a reflection of the up-and-down nature of the Lynx, they’ve already lost four heading into Sunday’s game with the Connecticut Sun at Target Center.
The Lynx (12-9) have gone 9-3 since starting 3-6. But they’ve lost three of their past five overall and are 6-4 at home.
They’ve beaten Los Angeles, Dallas twice and first-place Seattle at home, but lost to last-place Indiana and under .500 Las Vegas, too.
So, after the loss Friday, coach Cheryl Reeve was asked if she had a handle on her team yet.
“Everyone who has been a part of this team this year has seen this before,’’ Reeve said. “So, yeah, I know exactly what we have. Exactly. It doesn’t feel very good to fight through it, to stay in it. I don’t know that we’re mentally tough enough, in games like these.’’
There’s no question the difference between a win and a loss is as tight as ever in a WNBA where the top six teams — the Lynx were sixth — were within three games of each other into Saturday’s games.
That means better attention to detail is needed. And, as Reeve suggested, perhaps a little more toughness in the face of adversity. Reeve said Friday her team didn’t do a good enough job setting screens, being aggressive on the perimeter, playing around center Sylvia Fowles — who was having one Aces player after another run at her — instead of trying to force the ball to her.
Friday was the third time in five games the Lynx have failed to shoot 40 percent, all three were losses. It was also the seventh time neither Maya Moore nor Fowles scored 20 points, and the Lynx are 0-7 in those games.
And now the Lynx get the Sun. Connecticut (11-10) started the season 7-1, including a victory over the Lynx, before falling on hard times. There was a four-game losing streak. Another streak of three defeats — one ended against Phoenix on Friday. During that time, there was some strife when, according to Wnbainsidr.com, there was a physical altercation between Alex Bentley and Courtney Williams. Williams missed four games, and then Bentley was traded to Atlanta, a deal that brought Layshia Clarendon to the Sun.
Which means the Lynx have to be in the sort of form that produced a convincing victory at home over L.A. recently. “I don’t think it’s complicated,’’ Moore said. “We just have to pay attention, focus, and play with conviction. Whatever we’re going to do, we’re going to do together.’’
“We had the crazy start, and we made our way back,” Fowles said. “We can do it again.’’