After taking their sixth consecutive loss to begin the season, the Minnesota Lynx are running out of answers ahead of their Saturday road matchup against the Washington Mystics.
"There's nothing really to say at this point," forward Napheesa Collier said after Minnesota's 89-84 home loss to the Connecticut Sun on Thursday as the Lynx matched their worst season start in 16 years.
"We keep saying the same thing over and over again, and until we actually execute in the game, we're gonna be answering the same questions."
Collier dropped a career-best 30 points against the Sun, but her offensive showcase couldn't override another feeble team defensive effort that has plagued Minnesota's sluggish start.
In the Thursday loss, the Lynx surrendered season-highs in made field goals (36) and field goal percentage (50.7 percent) and let Sun forward Alyssa Thomas set a Connecticut franchise record with 16 assists.
Minnesota's porous defense allows 87.8 points per game, the second-worst figure in the WNBA.
The Lynx also will be without No. 2 pick Diamond Miller for the foreseeable future after the rookie sprained her right ankle in the Tuesday game at Dallas. The team announced Friday that Miller, who was averaging 10.4 points per game, "will be re-evaluated in the following weeks."
Fellow rookie Dorka Juhasz started in Miller's place against Connecticut and logged seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 37 minutes, with all of those figures representing career highs.
Juhasz and her teammates will catch a opponent that is on short rest after Washington held off the visiting Dallas Wings 75-74 on Friday.
The Mystics (3-2) trailed 64-58 with less than seven minutes remaining but used a pair of Elena Delle Donne 3-pointers and crisp free-throw shooting to eke out their second straight win.
Delle Donne, who finished with a game-best 23 points, hit her second 3-pointer in just over a minute to put the Mystics ahead 66-65 with 2:44 remaining after they had coughed up an 11-point, third-quarter lead.
"That's part of my job as a leader, to try to figure out a way to keep us locked in and keep us doing the things that were working," Delle Donne told The Washington Post after the game.
Dallas fought back to tie it at 68 and again at 70, but Ariel Atkins sank all three free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt, putting Washington ahead for good with 25.3 seconds to go.
The Mystics shot 29 of 31 from the foul line overall, including 9 of 9 in the final quarter to seal the game.
"Those are sometimes the most satisfying wins, when you can grind it out," Washington coach Eric Thibault said. "But we get to enjoy it for, like, 10 seconds, and then we're back here (on Saturday)."
--Field Level Media