The Lynx held a Women’s Health Night on Sunday because even in a tough season it’s important to keep a sense of humor.
On the night Napheesa Collier returned to the field after her pregnancy, Ariel Powers sat out with a knee injury. Collier became the 20th player to play for the Lynx this season in their 33rd game, then brought her infant to her press conference after helping the Lynx beat Atlanta 81-71.
It was like saying the Lynx’s personnel problems, even if the point is as redundant as the phrase “score the basketball.”
Collier is the Lynx’s best player. He missed 32 games and trained fully for the first time on Saturday. Powers’ game varied a lot from game to game, but she didn’t miss a game until Sunday.
The Lynx’s future Hall of Fame center Sylvia Fowles has been limited to 27 games and 27.6 minutes per game due to knee soreness and appeared to be limited by her knee during the game.
The Lynx’s original plan this spring may have been to play that five – Layshia Clarendon, Angel McCoughtry, Fowles, Damiris Dantas and Powers.
Clarendon and McCoughtry were not healthy enough to keep busy. Dadas struggled and is now away from the team for personal reasons.
Here is the list of point guards the Lynx have used since the preseason: Clarendon, Rachel Banham, Odyssey Sims, Lindsay Allen, Evina Westbrook and Moriah Jefferson.
Jefferson has played well, but has dealt with pain in her knees.
Has Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve ever seen a season like this?
“I thought it was a lot last year,” Reeve said. “It’s just unfortunate. I think if you do this long enough, you might experience things like that. Also, we always remember when we were healthy and lucky.
“I always remember feeling like when we were healthy, don’t take it for granted because it’s not always going to be that way.”
Of all the injuries, Clarendon’s preseason wobble may have been the most significant. Turnovers have been the most obvious problem for the Lynx this season, and the point guard rotation has been a big part of that.
There was another subplot in Sunday night’s game. Powers is shooting 38.1% from the field while making more shots than anyone else on the team. Powers has the worst shooting percentage of any of the Lynx starters and often shoots after holding the ball or driving multiple defenders.
She can carry a team when she’s hot or take her teammates away from the offense when she’s not.
Without her Sunday, the Lynx offense wasn’t exactly smooth, but three Lynx guards led the team in shooting and scoring.
Jefferson made seven of 11 shots, including four of her five 3-pointers, for 18 points. Kayla McBride made seven of 15 shots for 20 points. Rachel Banham made five of nine shots for 12 points before leaving the game with what sounded like a sprained knee.
“We always emphasize playing through Syl — that’s a big thing, being inside-outside,” McBride said. “But you know, Rachel and my eyes light up when we see zones and Moriah leads the league in three-point field goal percentage.”
Thanks to the league’s playoff format, the Lynx remain in the race with three games remaining.
They play in Phoenix on Wednesday night in their only remaining game against one of the teams they are battling for one of the final playoff spots.
They play Seattle Friday night at Target Center in Fowles’ final home game against another retiring legend, Sue Bird.
In this season of turnovers and point guard turnovers, the Lynx will finish the season at Connecticut, which recently signed Sims.
Moriah Jefferson vs. Odyssey Sims with a Lynx playoff spot on the line?
This was not in the realm of possibility a few months ago. Now it’s almost certain, if you want to assume that the current Lynx roster can go that far.