Lynx seeks answers after another 0-4 start to the season

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Indiana Fever guard Destanni Henderson (33) shoots the ball against Minnesota Lynx forward Bridget Carleton (6) during a WNBA basketball game, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Grace Hollars/The Indianapolis Star via AP)

PA

It certainly wasn’t the start the Minnesota Lynx envisioned for their season — the career finale for Sylvia Fowles.

For the second year in a row, the Lynx have lost their first four games. They’re hoping they can turn things around like they did last season when Cheryl Reeve’s team finished 22-10 and won the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

“We’ll do what we have to do to get where we want to go because there’s only one way,” Reeve said recently. “And that path is to be able to be difficult to face from a physical and mental point of view, your defense, your connection in attack.”

Minnesota begins a three-game road trip Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Regardless of what happens against the Sparks, the Lynx may find it harder to turn things around this year.

Napheesa Collier is out indefinitely as she is due to give birth later this month. Kayla McBride has just finished playing overseas and Damiris Dantas is weeks away from returning to the Lynx after a Lisfranc injury she suffered last year.

Reeve surprisingly overhauled the roster last week, parting ways with Angel McCoughtry and Odyssey Sims as well as 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield and veteran guard Layshia Clarendon.

“Unfortunately, you don’t want to train effort and tenacity,” Reeve said. “These are things you want your players to bring every time they play and I didn’t hold them accountable enough before (Thursday), and so now we’re in a space where we hold people accountable.

“If we keep asking you to do it over and over again, we’ll start assuming you can’t do it, and that leads to a different decision, either not playing or not making the team.”

POWER POLL

This week’s WNBA poll:

1. Las Vegas (3-1): Dearica Hamby and Kelsey Plum have entered the starting lineup this season and it has already paid off for the Aces. Plum is averaging 17.5 points and Hamby double- double to start the season with 14.8 points and 11.8 rebounds.

2. Washington (3-1): After missing last year with a foot injury, Alysha Clark returned to the roster last week. The Mystics suffered their only loss of the season in this game. They hope to get Natasha Cloud back from health and safety protocols this week.

3. Chicago (2-1): The Sky won both games last week, although the two teams they beat (New York and Minnesota) were 1-7 combined going into Tuesday’s games. Chicago will face tougher competition this week on the road playing Seattle and Washington.

4. Connecticut (1-1): The Sun has a busy week with a game in New York and then a home-and-away game with Indiana. Connecticut will welcome back Courtney Williams, who missed the first two games while serving a suspension for an off-court altercation last season.

5. Phoenix (2-1): A pair of games against the Aces this week will give a better idea of ​​where the Mercurys stand at this point in the season.

6. Atlanta (3-1): With a revamped young roster, the fact that the Dream have won three of their first four games is a sign the team is heading in the right direction. Rookie Rhyne Howard became the seventh player in league history to score 30 or more points in one of her first four games.

7. Dallas (2-1): Impressive wins at Washington and New York have given the Wings confidence. Coach Vickie Johnson believes she has a deep team this year and isn’t afraid to use the whole bench.

8.. Seattle (1-3): The Storm were swept by Phoenix, but were missing former league MVP Breanna Stewart, who was in health and safety protocols due to the coronavirus. She should be back this week.

9. Los Angeles (2-2): After starting the season with four straight road games, the Sparks are happy to be home for one game before hitting the road for four of the next five.

10. Indiana (2-3): It took Fever 18 games last season to get their second win of the season. With contributions from many of its young players like NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo, Indiana is looking good early.

11. New York (1-3): The Liberty are struggling in many areas early in the season, including rebounding. Luckily for them, with just one game this week, New York will have practice time to better acclimate to each other.

12. Minnesota (0-4): The Lynx can’t come back from here until they were sacked earlier this year. Getting McBride back will help.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Atlanta’s Rhyne Howard was voted AP Player of the Week after averaging 22.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals to help the Dream win two of their three games this week. Other players receiving votes include Dallas’ Arike Ogunbowale and Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi,

HIRING

Los Angeles announced Monday that Vanessa Shay will be the team’s president. Shay joins the Sparks after working with San Diego Wave FC of the NWSL. She has served as chief revenue officer since the team’s inception in 2021, guiding the new franchise through a successful expansion effort.

GRINER UPDATE

Brittney Griner, of Phoenix, had her pretrial detention in Russia extended for a month last Friday, her lawyer said. She has been in custody for three months after the two-time Olympic gold medalist was detained at a Moscow airport in February after vape cartridges containing cannabis-derived oil were allegedly found in her luggage. She faces drug trafficking charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

GAME OF THE WEEK:

Dream to Fever, Tuesday. A rematch of the top two picks from last month’s WNBA Draft. First pick Howard scored 33 points in Sunday’s game, which the Dream won by six points. NaLyssa Smith, who was picked second, had 18 points before leaving with an ankle injury midway through the fourth quarter.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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