Off to another winless start to the season, the Lynx had a tough draw in trying to get their first victory Sunday.
The Lynx failed to keep up with the defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces, who built a double-digit lead in the first half before pulling away from the Lynx in the third quarter for a 94-73 victory at Michelob Ultra Arena.
The inside-outside duo of A'ja Wilson and Jackie Young were too much for the Lynx, who are a league-worst 0-4. Young started slow, but had nine points in the third quarter and 23 overall. Wilson, the 2020 and 2022 WNBA MVP, was a consistent force for the Aces with 21 points.
"It's multiple efforts," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "When you defend the paint, you can't do just one thing. Your job isn't over. The rotation behind that was one of our concerns. We've shown some really great signs in other games where we were really moving as a unit. When a person helped, we had to help the helper. We didn't get the multiple efforts.
"Sometimes they didn't get points in the paint, but got through our first line of show help. When you get deep into the paint like that, everybody sags and now it is an easy kick out. I thought if we would have closed off some of those moments, then those threes get harder to come by and the close is easier for us."
The Lynx fell to 0-4 for the third year in a row. They trailed by double digits almost the entire second half vs. the Aces (4-0), who had five players score in double figures playing before an announced crowd of 7,970. Chelsea Gray had 19 points and Kelsey Plum and Alysha Clark had 11 each.
"There is a lot of individual talent over there offensively," Reeve said of the Aces, who celebrated their 2022 championship by routing Los Angeles in their home opener Saturday night. "... We've got to make shots when we are open. I liked what we did for much of the game. When we needed to go toe-to-toe with them, offensively, we came up short."
The Lynx shot 36.6% from the floor and have yet to shoot better than 45% in a game this season. Their 33.3% shooting from three-point range (7-for-21) was a season best, but Las Vegas hit twice as many threes, going 14-for-39.
Napheesa Collier had her first double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
"We really locked in on [Collier] having a different mind-set," Reeve said. "I want to make sure that when people walk out of the game watching the Lynx play, that they know that [Collier] is our best player. I thought that, particularly the first half when she had her legs, she was really effective, she locked in on the spaces that we identified for her and I thought her execution was really good. In the second half, she was less efficient, but overall that was one of our wins in the game."
Rachel Banham made four three-pointers for 12 points, Tiffany Mitchell had 16 points. Rookie Diamond Miller played only six minutes in the first half and 21 total for the game, but scored 14 points.
The Lynx were without starting guard Kayla McBride for the second straight game for personal reasons. There is no timeline for return.
In each of the past two seasons, the Lynx lost their first four games before winning their fifth. But the two seasons did not go similarly after that.
In 2021, the Lynx started 0-4 but won their next three games and soon went on an eight-game winning streak, finishing 22-10 and making the playoffs. Last year, the Lynx eventually dropped to 3-13 and finished 14-22, their first losing season under Reeve since her first year in 2010.
The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.