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This is not how the Lynx wanted to enter the postseason.

They suffered an 87-72 collapse at 10th-place Indiana on Sunday afternoon, giving the Lynx an 0-2 finish to the regular season. They faltered badly down the stretch in a game that, had the Lynx won, would have moved them into the fifth seed for the WNBA playoffs.

Up a point with 7 minutes, 28 seconds left after Kayla McBride hit a three-pointer, the Lynx went 0-for-9 with six turnovers while being outscored 18-2 the rest of the way.

Because Atlanta lost to Dallas in another regular-season finale Sunday, a Lynx win would have sent them to fourth-seeded Dallas to start the playoffs. Instead, sixth-seeded Minnesota (19-21) will start the best-of-three first round at third-seeded Connecticut. Game 2 is set for Sunday at Connecticut and Game 3, if necessary, will be in Minnesota on Sept. 20.

And Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve wasn't happy about it. As was the case in Friday night's loss at Chicago, she believed the team ignored the defensive game plan while allowing Indiana, which scored just 59 points in a loss Friday, to score 56 points in the first half Sunday.

"In the first quarter, we came out and we said, 'We don't trust you, coaches,' " Reeve said. " 'We don't trust you. We don't trust that team wants to be in the paint.' It's rooted in trust. How do you come out in the first quarter and give up 20 points in the paint? And then you turn around and ask, 'Oh, you want me to help?' "

The Lynx played one good quarter. Down 13 points early in the third, Minnesota — which held Indiana to 3-for-20 shooting in the quarter — ended it on a 17-4 run to tie the score entering the fourth.

Twice, early in the final quarter, Minnesota took a one-point lead before stumbling down the stretch.

Aliyah Boston, who scored 12 of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, scored six consecutive points, and the Fever (13-27) were off and running.

"It was just not executing down the stretch,'' said Napheesa Collier, who scored 23 points. McBride had 24, making this the only game since McBride joined the team three seasons ago that both scored 20 points in a Lynx loss.

"Rebounds going over our head. We had so many turnovers at the end," Collier continued. "It's not playing with the intensity that we need, that grit. We were playing hard, but we weren't playing hard enough.''

Given these stakes?

"It's a complete lack of focus and intentionality,'' Reeve said. "And for us competing for a playoff spot? It's not about learning. That's not doing what you're told, what your job is. [The Fever] played like they had more to play for than we did. Awfully disappointing.''

The Fever scored 13 points off Lynx turnovers, seven over the final 7:28. They scored 48 points in the paint, turning 11 offensive rebounds into 20 points. Both Boston (12 rebounds) and NaLyssa Smith (16 points, 11 boards) had double-doubles. Kelsey Mitchell scored 24 points.

After the game, McBride said the loss doesn't take away from what the Lynx did over the course of the season and that the team has to flush this loss with the postseason approaching.

On this last point, Reeve disagreed.

"Flush it? We're not flushing this," she said. "There is no such thing as flushing what we did defensively the last two games. No. You need to sit in it. Because you had an opportunity to do something special, and twice we didn't do what we needed to do. So there is no flushing. Sit in it. Feel it.''

If things don't change, it could be a short playoff run.

"We have no clue,'' Reeve said. "The team we're about to play in the playoffs has a big-time clue.''

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.