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Minnesota’s third consecutive loss to open the 2023 campaign couldn’t be blamed on one specific quarter.
In a battle between 0-2 teams, the Lynx simply appeared to be the inferior team. Minnesota was out-played for much of its ___ loss Thursday in Phoenix at the hands of the previously winless Mercury.
And the problems facing the Lynx in the loss weren’t all that easily correctable. Minnesota isn’t good enough defensively, as evidenced by Phoenix’s 50-point first half. Diana Taurasi finished with 23 points and 10 assists, while Brittney Griner added 19 points and eight in her third game back with the Mercury after missing all of last season while she was detained in Russia.
Phoenix (1-2) shot 49 percent from the field and 46 percent from deep.
And Minnesota simply doesn’t have the offensive weapons to counteract that kind of punch. Aerial Powers — who played single-digit minutes in each of the Lynx’s first two contests — led the way with 20 points in 24 minutes Thursday. No one else scored more than 13 points.
The Lynx’s starting lineup lacks much in the way of firepower as rookie Diamond Miller continues to find her footing and Napheesa Collier tallied just eight points on nine shots. Minnesota (0-3) doesn’t seem to possess a No. 1 scorer on its current roster, which doesn’t have to be a death sentence if a team can defend at a high level. The Lynx just aren’t doing that consistently enough at the moment to win games.
The challenge doesn’t get any easier from here. Minnesota travels to Las Vegas on Saturday to face the defending champion Aces, who are 2-0 to open the campaign. The Lynx will need a major upset to avoid their third consecutive 0-4 start.
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