Takeaways: Mystics come out swinging but Lynx prevail in Game 2

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 14: Lindsay Whalen /
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“I thought both teams left it out there,” said Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “All the great players were great. What else can you ask for from a playoff game?”

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There isn’t a better way to sum up the Lynx’s 93-83 victory over the Washington Mystics. The win gave the Lynx a 2-0 lead in the series with the potential series clinching game in Washington on Sunday.

Following a 20-point loss in Game 1, the Mystics responded as you would expect. They forced the Lynx into foul trouble with their intensity; each starter minus Lindsay Whalen had at least one foul. This led Reeve to dig into her bench early and it paid off for the Mystics. The reserves shot 1-for-5 in the first quarter and were a combined -28. Heading into the second, the Lynx trailed by 10 points– a departure from Tuesday’s performance.

“When we subbed Renee [Montgomery] for Whay [Whalen], they made a substitution and it was very clear what their adjustments were going to be,” said Reeve following the game. “Their methods to dictate involved [Natasha] Cloud. So, their ball pressure was tremendous.”

The disparity in aggression was apparent. The Mystics played like a team fighting to stave off the brink of elimination. Elena Delle Donne was assertive and helped lead the charge. Her 10 first quarter points, combined with Kristi Toliver’s seven, allowed the Mystics to set the tone early.

Something must’ve clicked in the Lynx in the second quarter. They ripped off a 14-4 run to begin the second to tie the game at 33. Where was this team to start the game?

“We just thought our offense was bad. We started off okay. We made our first couple shots and then I don’t know if we started thinking that this was going to be the same as Game 1,” said Reeve. “But Washington turned it up.”

“We didn’t respond well early in the game so we just talked about being more aggressive and we’d seen it, we’d seen the slow progression and we just didn’t handle it well in the early moments.”

Reeve added that she felt that the Mystics were thriving off of their poor offense in transition. She added that the defense wasn’t able to get set in the first quarter and that it’s different when you’re making shots.

Falling asleep at the wheel like that on Sunday could extend this series unnecessarily. This has been an unfortunate season for the Mystics but they are stocked with talent. Should that all come together at once, the Lynx could find themselves in an unfavorable spot if they don’t start strong.