There was a lot Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve didn't like about Friday's season-opening 77-75 loss to Phoenix at Target Center:
Her team's offensive torpor in the first half, when the team made just 10 of 37 shots.
• The Mercury outrebounding the Lynx 42-36, with Phoenix getting 11 offensive rebounds.
• The 46 points the Lynx allowed in the paint.
But there are some good things to come out of the closely-contested game, including the fact the Lynx nearly won with Napheesa Collier still in France and both Aerial Powers and Kayla McBride — two of the team's high-profile offseason free-agent signees — playing with their team for the first time.
Perhaps because of that Reeve said she tried to slow down the offense in the first half, trying to run too many set plays for a team that was having difficulty getting started. At halftime she took a different tack, telling her team to play with more flow and instinct.
The result: Aerial Powers, playing in her first game with her new team, scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Kayla McBride, who arrived from Turkey on Wednesday and was cleared to play just before gametime, started strong and finished with 17 points.
A clunky start is not unexpected, given they were without Collier and were integrating McBride on the fly.
"[McBride] carried us in the first half, then Powers got going,'' Reeve said. "AP hasn't been in a scrimmage, preseason nothing, just limited reps. In her first game she was a bit uptight. But she settled down and got going.''
Both Powers and McBride saw enough in one game to have a sense of what this team could be when it's complete.
"The potential is big,'' Powers said. "We're going to get it right. We're all a bit salty about this loss, the way it came down to the end. I loved that Kayla was here. We're gong to figure it out and I think we're going to have a good team. Even with all the mistakes, we lost by two. It should not have come down to the end. And when Phee gets here, it will just add another dynamic to the team.''
McBride said communication between her and the coaching staff while she was in Turkey — they shared videos of practice and playbook information — helped her hit the ground running.
"I was just telling Aerial that once we put the team together, this could be special,'' she said. "We don't care what everyone else is saying, we know who we are, the players we have, the coaches we have. We're going to go back to the gym and keep working. You can tell this team has no fear. We have a great leader in Coach Reeve. The sky is the limit.''
• The Lynx are now 11-4 when starting the season at home.
• Friday McBride had her first 15-point, five-rebound game since Aug. 11 of 2019.
• Four Minnesota starters were in double figures in scoring Friday, but the Lynx got just five points and one field goal from the bench, a three-pointer by Rachel Banham.