Back-to-back losses signal early season challenges Lynx face

Minnesota hosts WNBA-leading Connecticut on Friday.
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After a 4-1 start to the season the Lynx have dropped back-to-back games, losing 75-69 on the road to the New York Liberty on Wednesday night. 

Minnesota got 16 points and 11 rebounds from Sylvia Fowles, who moved into 20th place on the WNBA's all-time scoring list, but a 15-point first-half deficit was too much to overcome. 

The consecutive losses aren't a harbinger of struggles to come, but there's no doubt that Minnesota faces challenges due to early season injuries and finding players – many of whom weren't on the team last year – to fill the shoes of Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson. 

Jessica Shepard, out with a torn ACL, missed her second straight game and it's clear that her all-around ability is missed. She was averaging 4.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in just 18 minutes per game, but those were vital minutes. 

Seimone Augustus remains out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on her knee, and the rest of the starting lineup is still learning to gel with rookie first-round pick, Napheesa Collier (1-of-7 shooting, two points Wednesday night), and newcomers Damiris Dantas and Odyssey Sims. 

The only regulars from last year's Lynx team are Fowles and point guard Danielle Robinson, who are being forced to play big minutes with a shortened bench.

Minnesota is back in action Friday at 7 p.m. at home against the WNBA-leading Connecticut Sun (6-1). 

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