A week ago, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was in a sour mood after a loss in Indiana dropped her team to 0-3.
Odyssey Sims mysteriously wasn't with the team. Angel McCoughtry spent the second half on the bench. After the game, Reeve was blunt. The Big Three, she said, doesn't exist in Minnesota.
Within days McCoughtry's contract was bought out, Sims and the Lynx parted ways and point guard Moriah Jefferson was signed. The Lynx played defending champion Chicago tough Sunday.
And then, Tuesday, the Lynx got 24 points from a jet-lagged Kayla McBride; 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals from Jefferson; and 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks from Sylvia Fowles in an 87-84 victory in Los Angeles.
They play at league-leading Las Vegas tonight. (9 p.m., BSN)
The Lynx beat the Sparks despite having 19 turnovers that turned into 24 Sparks points. Despite Aerial Powers again struggling with her shot. They did it with a big three, two of whom were late arrivals to the party.
Fowles' play is a given. Jefferson's play has been a gift. But McBride's play was galvanizing. It is no coincidence that the Lynx set season highs in points both in the first half (46) and in the game. Or that the team made nine of 17 threes after going 13-for-55 over the first three games.
Jefferson, teammates with McBride for three seasons starting in San Antonio in 2016, is the latest late addition at point guard to be making a difference; fans saw that last year with Layshia Clarendon. McBride, perhaps the most passionate player on the team, is back after finishing a title run in Turkey.
"God's timing is perfect,'' Jefferson said. "We're here now. Now we have to make the best of the situation we're in.''
McBride's abilities create opportunities for her teammates.
"You hit the nail on the head,'' Reeve said after Tuesday's win. "You've seen Kayla's impact in terms of pace of play. You have to guard her. That just gives us another dimension, allows us to be able to get a little more easy offense from other places. That's what we've been lacking.''
Jefferson, still learning the playbook, has shown a knack for playing in the pick-and-roll, making the right reads.
To be on the court, late Tuesday, as McBride won the game with a three-point play with seconds left? "It was crazy,'' Jefferson said. "I screamed so loud. I don't know, it was almost like I blacked out a little bit after that play. For her to come off a 16-hour flight, and have a game like that? That's just incredible.''
McBride and Jefferson won't combine for 44 points every night. But their arrival in Minnesota has given Reeve and the Lynx options. Powers' track record shows her shot will come around. There will be nights when she'll be a part of the team's big three.
In between naps on her long flight back from Turkey, McBride said she was determined to play, and play well, no matter how tired she was Tuesday.
"I'm super grateful I showed up for my team,'' she said.