Against the odds — their star injured, their key veteran fatigued, running their offense through a rookie — the Lynx managed to not only make the playoffs, but to hold off Sacramento for the third seed, avoiding another matchup against every team’s nemesis. However, Seattle is hardly a pushover, and managed to hold on and sweep the Lynx in two games after beating them last night, 64-54.

Sue Bird left the game early with a broken nose after running into Theresa Edwards’s face, but backup Tully Bevilaqua filled in nicely with 9 points and 4 assists. Star forward Lauren Jackson contributed her typical 18 points, but it was Alicia Thompson who came off the bench to stick a dagger in Minnesota’s hopes with 10 late points.

For the Lynx’s part, they stayed even with the Storm for the first three-fourths of the game, combining an unusually good shooting night with eager (although not particularly smart) defense to force Seattle to play at their slower pace. Svetlana Abrosimova (who’s played like a woman possessed ever since the Olympic break) had 14 points, Nicole Ohlde had 11 points, and Tamika Williams had a game-leading 9 rebounds. The problem for Minnesota was the same problem that has plagued them all season: turnovers. 20 of them, to be precise.

Despite outplaying Seattle for long stretches yesterday, the Lynx couldn’t pull away from the Storm because they kept throwing the ball away. The Storm finally figured out late in the game that the key to disrupting Minnesota’s offense was not to just wait for them to throw the ball away (although it’s a pretty safe bet that they will), but to trap the ballhandler at halfcourt. Their traps led to bad passes, which led to bad shots and even more turnovers, which led to a Seattle win. And that’s all she wrote for the season.

Now as we wait to see how the other teams do (and continue hoping for a Sparks loss), we can start contemplating offseason changes. Minnesota lacks depth at the wing positions: Katie Smith and Svet are great when healthy, but if they want to stay that way, they’re going to need consistent play behind them. Edwards, as wonderful as she’s been over the years, has been making retirement noises for a while, and with the exception of her 18-point game against Seattle a few weeks ago, doesn’t look like she really has the endurance to play at a high level anymore. If it was possible to combine Helen Darling’s defense with Amber Jacobs’s shooting, the Lynx would have a decent point guard, but they’d still have to find someone who can run the offense (the two of them had assist-to-turnover ratios of .27 and .50 on the season, respectively): either they are going to have to drastically improve their control, or the team is going to have to acquire an upgrade.

The Lynx’s happy place this year was in the paint: Ohlde had a fantastic rookie season, Vanessa Hayden justified the Lynx’s rolling the dice on her by showing great rebounding ability, and Williams continued to play her quietly effective, blue-collar game. However, this leads to what will undoubtedly be Minnesota’s big dilemma this year: Janel McCarville. The University of Minnesota’s center will be a high draft pick next year, and if the Lynx want her (and the fans she’d presumably bring with her), they’ll have to trade up to get her, and if they want to trade up, they’re almost certainly going to have to give up at least one of their post players. While it seems like trading a center away to draft another center while doing nothing about your backcourt is a bad idea, there’s no doubt that the Lynx could really use a shot in the arm from an attendance perspective. At any rate, get ready for another wild and wacky offseason from the Lynx.