Comeback, and new high from Collier, can’t save Lynx in Atlanta

19 July 2023

It was all but lost for the Lynx early in Tuesday’s game in Atlanta.

Minnesota was down 22 points at one point late in the first half, looking like a similar team to the one that gave up 100+ points in consecutive games before the all-star break.

After halftime, though, the Lynx locked down defensively and nearly came all the way back. Minnesota lost 82-73 on Tuesday to Atlanta and didn’t complete the comeback, but the Lynx brought the game to within one basket thanks to a much-improved defensive showing.

“I thought our second half was really good defensively,” forward Napheesa Collier said. “We were almost there. I feel like that was a really winnable game, even though we were down a lot in the first half. We were within four points a couple of times, and for some reason, we couldn’t close the gap enough to pull out a win.”

Right after the game started, the Lynx quickly found themselves down 8-0. Shades of the defensive woes that plagued them in two blowout losses last week appeared again and did not relent in the first half. Despite the six days off, Minnesota was not closing out defenders at the perimeter, giving the Dream an open path to a team-record 12 3-pointers.

Once the second half began, Minnesota picked up the slack.

Atlanta (12-8) shot 12-19 from 3-point range in the first half. In the second half, the Dream went cold, going 0 for 13 until one shot finally fell late in the game, to end the half 1 of 14 from 3-point range.

“At halftime, we cleaned some things up,” head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “In the second half, defensively, we gave ourselves a chance.”

The Dream were on pace to tie the WNBA record for 3-pointers made in a single game (18) by the third quarter at the pace they had set in the first half and cruise to victory. The Lynx emerged in that third quarter and put themselves back in the game.

Minnesota (9-12) slowly narrowed that double-digit deficit down to one point in the fourth quarter. Momentum was swinging towards the Lynx, but after some missed shots on both ends, then a critical shot from the Dream — their only 3-pointer in the second half — Minnesota’s deficit loomed again.

“(Late in the game) we needed more than (Collier) scoring the ball,” Reeve said. “Then all the attention went to (her) and we couldn’t get her clean looks.”

Collier, the team’s lone all-star from the past weekend’s festivities, was on point offensively right from the start.

She was 13 of 24 from the field, scoring 35 points, with a pair of 3-pointers, and setting a new career scoring high. Collier also had nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

Collier’s points accounted for nearly half of the team’s total on Tuesday. Kayla McBride was the only other player in double digits for the Lynx, scoring 12 points, collecting three rebounds and two steals.

Need help?

If you need support, please send an email to [email protected]

Thank you.