The Minnesota Lynx has been as dominant as any basketball team the past few seasons, having been in the WNBA Finals five times of the last six seasons. But during those five times, Cheryl Reeve’s team has lost the opener three times, including last Sunday’s blunder against the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Isn’t that crazy?” Reeve mused. “I kind of went back and thought about it. I think each year is different, but it was surprising to me.”
Los Angeles won 78-76 on Alana Beard’s buzzer-beater on Sunday in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals. Even while the game was being played, the Lynx knew what their biggest problems were: turnovers and fouls. But they weren’t able to satisfactorily fix those things before it was too late.
“It’s two good teams going against each other,” Minnesota’s Maya Moore said. “We can’t give up easy points in transition off their aggressive defense. It’s about moment-by-moment getting the ball where we want it on offense.”
Of course, the Sparks feel like they have things to clean up as well, despite winning the game.
“They’re going to adjust to our pressure, for sure,” L.A.’s Candace Parker said. “But we lost a lot of statistical categories, too. So this isn’t just about them having to adjust to us. We have to make adjustments, too.”
Now we’ll see which path the series takes from here. The teams meet again at Target Center on Tuesday (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET) and the Lynx will try to become the first team to hold court in this series in 2016. The visiting team has won all four previous meetings this season.