Uncontested Shot With Kyle Ratke

So, in yesterdays Uncontested Shot, I went a little overboard and typed up 1,400 words on the first half of the WNBA season before even addressing what to look for in the next month and a half. I could have set my keyboard on fire yesterday, or I could have given you a break and finished Part 2 today.

If youre reading this, you know what route I decided to take. Or youve traveled to the wrong website and youre really confused.

If you did happen to miss Part 1 for some reason (not real sure what else you could have been doing), you can read it by clicking here.

Without delaying any further, here are a few topics heading into the second half of the season.

Do the Lynx still have improvements to make?

Yes, despite being the best team in the WNBA record-wise (14-3), the Lynx do in fact have improvements to make.

Chances are coach Cheryl Reeve will tell you the team needs to be better defensively and rebounding the ball. Well, the Lynx lead the league with 38.94 rebounds per game, while allowing just 33.59. The team is also fifth in the league allowing 74.3 points per game.

Now, Im not saying that Reeve is wrong. The reason this team is where its at is because it thrives on the boards and on defense and that comes straight from Reeve. She knows this team better than anyone, but the one spot that Id like to see the team improve on is its bench play. Besides Monica Wright (who has been great), the team really doesnt have a scoring punch off the bench. Sugar Rodgers is an energy player, and Dev Peters hasnt been as consistent offensively as the team would like her to be. Amber Harris has shown glimpses here, but most of that came earlier in the season.

If the Lynx can get more production off their bench outside of Wright, I think they would be pretty close to unstoppable.

Who is the teams biggest threat?

Being that the Los Angeles Sparks have beaten the Lynx twice this season, LA is the obvious pick. The Lynx have two more games against the Sparks, one at home and one on the road. Minnesota got beat badly both times in LA, but as usual, took care of business at home.

The Lynx are 2.5 games above the Sparks, but its still important to win both games against LA in case the two teams tied at the top of the West and it comes down to a tie-breaker.

Its tough for Janel McCarville to match up against Candace Parker. McCarville is a bruiser, but Parker has two inches on McCarville.

In the last two games against the Lynx, Parker has been MVP-like, scoring 17 and 27 points, while hauling in 11 and eight rebounds. One player who could be a matchup problem for Parker would be Harris, mostly due to her size.

In the East, we saw that the Indiana Fever give the Lynx some trouble when the team traveled to Indiana earlier this season, but Minnesota took care of business in an ugly game. Another team to watch in the East is Chicago. Elena Delle Donne is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year and is a matchup nightmare, being able to play up to four positions.

Right now, the Lynx need to focus on winning the West. After that, things will work themselves out.

As McCarville told me during an interview last week, she hasnt even thought about the playoffs. Thats the right mentality to have at the halfway point.

Staying away from injuries

Luckily, the Lynx have only suffered one major injury this season, and it turned out to be not all that major. When Seimone Augustus injured her ankle earlier this season, it looked like it could be bad news as the Lynx had three more games in that week alone, and one was against the top-ranked team in the East, the Atlanta Dream.

Luckily for the Lynx, this was a non-issue as Wright seamlessly moved into the starting lineup and put up back-to-back 22 point games.

Still, weve seen how major injuries have impacted teams already this season. Look at Connecticut, Seattle and San Antonio. Injuries have derailed the seasons of these teams. While the Lynx have enough talent to overcome an injury for a short amount of time, it will be tough to win it all without one of the teams major players.

Rest is important for this team down the stretch, which is why locking up the West and home court advantage throughout the playoffs is important to do so sooner rather than later.

Thats easier said than done, though.

Thats all weve got for Part 2.

The Lynx will have practice tomorrow through Friday before hosting the San Antonio Silver Stars at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Throughout the week, you can expect Practice Reports, one-on-ones along with other exclusive content youll only get from Lynxbasketball.com

Make sure to check in a few times a day.

As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy your week.

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