From SBN’s Swish Appeal:
While defensive energy — particularly rebounding energy — was certainly a major factor in turning the tide of the game, the biggest factor in shifting the tide of the game was that the Storm started hitting shots and the Lynx stopped. The Storm had an effective field goal percentage of 65.38% to the Lynx’s 26.67% in the third quarter, primarily on the strength of three point shots from Little, guard Svetlana Abrosimova, and center Lauren Jackson.
“I thought they hit some shots in the second half, for sure,” said Reeve. “First half we were pretty on it defensively, second half…we had some mistakes, but 68 points and 39%, I’m not disappointed in that. The story of the game plain and simple is 29%. Plain and simple.”
The 29% that Reeve referred to was Minnesota’s field goal percentage for the game, but entering the fourth quarter up by four points they only managed to shoot 17.6%. With the Storm starting to hit more of their shots in the third quarter and then cutting their turnover percentage from 31.25% in the third to 6.17% in the fourth, the Lynx found themselves inbounding the ball from underneath their own basket more often and it shut down the easiest of their scoring opportunities.
“Our transition kind of stopped,” said Whalen. “We started walking it up more and they started scoring more. So it’s just we had a lot of walk-ups, so we just had to I guess keep pushing the ball, keep pushing the tempo even when they were getting makes. So I think that that kinda slowed us down — that kept me out of the lane because they were able to set their defense and set everybody in the lane.”
Despite a significant rebounding 27-14 second half rebounding margin in favor of the Storm in the second half, a large reason for it was the shooting differentials. The Storm’s 70% defensive rebounding percentage in the fourth quarter was actually about league average.
“We missed a lot of shots, so they had a lot of opportunities to rebound,” said Whalen. “Defensive rebounding percentage means more than total rebounds. They have some great inside players and great rebounders. We worked as hard as we could.”
Read more on the game at Swish Appeal.