Back to reality.
If a strong start to the season unreasonably bolstered fans expectations, a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the champs surely tempered them a bit. San Antonio (3-4) hung around all game, but a strong second quarter from the Lynx provided the necessary buffer to earn the victory on Sunday. On Friday it was a 33-point quarter for Minnesota (7-0) that sunk the Stars, who fell by 16.
Losing two straight games to the champions (albeit one in a blowout) isn't awful by any means, but a team destined to pick up the fourth seed in the western conference (assuming they make it at all, of course) is going to have to face the Lynx in the first round. If this was a playoff preview, maybe a lottery pick isn't so bad.
The Lynx are, in my mind, the best team in the WNBA (I know, bold opinion) and they're probably going to at least make the western conference finals again in 2014 (barring injury, of course). The Stars did an admirable job just hanging with them in both games this weekend. The Lynx's velociraptor-like exploitation of weaknesses had me worried the Stars would get blown out at home on Sunday
San Antonio shot the ball well enough on Sunday to win the game, particularly from 3-point range (8-18); but their defense wasn't good enough to stop Minnesota's relentless attack. The Lynx shot 52 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from behind the 3-point line and grabbed 34 rebounds to San Antonio's 23. Those extra rebounds culminated into seven extra shots, which served the Lynx well in their eight point victory.
Lindsay Whalen scored 14 points and picked up 10 assists in Sunday's win after only assisting on three baskets on Friday. The assist stat is flawed in many ways -- one of them is that even the perfect pass requires the recipient to make their shot after. I didn't count every Whalen pass on Friday (or Sunday, clearly) so it's hard to say if she actually performed better on Sunday or if her teammates just made more shots. Regardless: She's very good.
Danielle Robinson assisted on 12 buckets on Sunday and four on Friday, but combined for just 19 points over the weekend. That's a far cry from the gaudy point totals she put up in the first five games this season. Allow me to blow your mind for a moment: Good players put up worse numbers against better teams.
Whew. You're gonna need to digest that for a moment.
If anything, these two losses show the Stars still have plenty of work to do in order to qualify for a playoff spot in the western conference. Not a lot of teams are going to beat the Minnesota Lynx this year, so if San Antonio can make improvements based on these two performances, they'll be in good shape going forward.
Stars Player Of The Weekend: Jia Perkins
Perkins scored 31 points over the weekend and most of them came on her 8-15 shooting from behind the arc. She's in the top-10 in 3-point percentage (48 percent) and if she continues to come off the bench this season has A Shot to be in the running for sixth-woman of the year.
Playoff Position: Yes! Because the Storm and Shock are literal garbage so far this season!
Next Game: Saturday, June 7 at home against the Phoenix Mercury. Go see Brittney Griner live and in person! The game will be televised on Fox Sports South West if that's a thing you're into.
Interesting, yet meaningless stat: All but three teams in the WNBA have either two or three wins this season. Parity! Except at the top of each conference. Those teams are clearly better than everyone else after only seven games.