Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx practiced one final time at The Courts at Mayo Clinic Square on Wednesday morning before traveling to New York for their game against the Liberty on Thursday night.
The Lynx and Liberty both earned wins in their season-opening games over the weekend, and Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said the team is ready for the challenges that the Liberty will display at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
“They are going to defend their tails off, they are physical,” Reeve said of New York. “They have had a very high defensive rating over the time that that (Bill Laimbeer) has coached them. . . So, what does that mean? What is their coverage, what is their pick-and-roll coverage, that’s what we are planning for.”
Both teams are top defensive teams, ranking in the top three in the WNBA in defensive rating in 2016. The Lynx ranked first in the league with a defensive rating of 96.4, while the Liberty were third at 99.5.
In a one-game sample size this season, Minnesota has the best defensive rating in the league (72.6), while New York is fourth in the WNBA (83.1).
“It’s about just continuing to do the little things defensively, all those little things that we can do consistently,” Maya Moore said after practice. “(The Liberty) are a team that really packs the paint and forces you to make jumpers. They are a physical team and they are disciplined, so we have to be really efficient against them.”
Reeve said with the Liberty’s defensive presence in the paint, the Lynx will likely have plenty of scoring opportunities come from three in the game.
“(Sylvia Fowles) is going to get a lot of attention in the paint and they are going to leave us open on the perimeter. This is one of those games that Renee (Montgomery), Jia (Perkins), Lindsay (Whalen), Seimone (Augustus) and Maya are going to earn their pay on the perimeter. And they have to knock down shots because that’s going to be open for them.”
The Lynx and Liberty will square off at 6 p.m. Thursday night. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and 106.1 BOB FM.