While the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx are creeping up on the best start in league history, they feel they're capable of playing a whole lot better.
That surely doesn't bode well for the struggling Seattle Storm.
Looking to improve to 8-0, the Lynx try for a 20th win in 21 home games Wednesday night against the Storm.
Enjoying its best start in team history, Minnesota (7-0) extended its regular-season winning streak to a franchise-best 10 games Sunday with an 83-79 victory over San Antonio. Reigning rookie of the year Maya Moore and Rebekkah Brunson each scored 17 points while Lindsay Whalen added 15 for the Lynx, who have won 19 of 20 at the Target Center - including their title run.
Minnesota is two victories away from matching Los Angeles' WNBA-best 9-0 starts from 2001 and 2003, and this is only the sixth 7-0 start in league history.
"We're just trying to focus on the next shootaround, the next game," Whalen said.
It hasn't, however, all been smooth sailing for the Lynx, who nearly let one slip away again versus the Silver Stars. Minnesota led by 26 midway through the third quarter before hanging on for the win.
"Just the ability to finish off an opponent is something we're trying to find our way through," said coach Cheryl Reeve, whose team blew a 24-point lead before winning on Whalen's last-second shot in a 79-77 victory at Washington on May 30th.
While Minnesota shot 53.0 percent from the field, it made just 9 of 16 free throws and forced a lackluster seven turnovers.
"We're going to have to clean it up; we're not going to just rest on 'Yeah, we got the win," Moore said. "When we play at our best we feel unstoppable, and we still haven't played at our best."
Seattle certainly hasn't played its best, either. The Storm dropped to 1-4 with Sunday's deflating 67-65 loss at Los Angeles.
Seattle led by seven with just over four minutes remaining but couldn't hold off the Sparks, who prevailed on Nneka Ogwumike's jumper with 2.5 seconds to go.
"Losses are tough, period, but (especially) the ones that are last second," forward Tina Thompson said. "It stings a little bit because you think about the opportunities that we had to change the outcome.
"We've had time to kind of practice on our things. We're nowhere near where we need to be but we're getting better defensively."
Continuing to play without three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson as she prepares for this summer's Olympics for Australia, the Storm limited Los Angeles to just 34.9 percent shooting and outrebounded them 38-33.
"We're a team that's improved a lot in two weeks, and we're not done improving," coach Brian Agler said.
Seattle's lone victory came 76-58 over Tulsa - the league's only winless team - on Friday.
The Lynx, who took three of four from the Storm last season, outscored them by a combined 32 points in two home wins - including a 92-67 rout July 29.
- Minnesota Lynx
- Lindsay Whalen
- Seattle Storm
- Los Angeles