Web Editorial Associate
9:00 p.m., Talking Stick Resort Arena
Where To Watch: Fox Sports North
Where To Listen: 106.1 BOB FM
The Minnesota Lynx will play their third straight game on the road on Wednesday night against an opponent that they’re awfully familiar with.
The 0-3 Phoenix Mercury have gotten off to a very rough start to a season in which many experts and league executives thought they would be walking away with the WNBA title.
The Lynx on the other hand have picked off right where they ended last year, as the 2015 WNBA Champions are undefeated through their first three games of the season.
Before you watch Diana Taurasi and the Mercury try and knock off the Lynx to earn their first victory of the season, keep these fun facts in mind regarding the ballgame:
– Taurasi, who sat out last year to rest, has been on a tear to start off the 20th WNBA season and leads the league in scoring, averaging 24.3 points per contest.
– Minnesota has shown great patience and vision with their offense so far this year as the defending WNBA Champions lead the league in assists per game with 21.7.
– Speaking of offense, Minnesota and Phoenix have different opinions on how important the 3-point shot is to success. So far this season, the Mercury rank second in the league in attempts, with 19.3 per game, and the Lynx rank second to last in that same category, only launching 10.7 shots from beyond-the-arc.
Coming Off Of…
Phoenix will be walking into Wednesday evening’s matchup with fresh legs, as the last game they played was Friday, May 20th against the Seattle Storm. In a wire-to-wire battle, the Mercury were unable to hold off the visiting Storm, falling 81-80 on a last second shot. Mostly all of Phoenix’s starters played well, accounting for 74 of their points. Brittney Griner put up 19 points and six boards, and Taurasi led her team with 23 points and six assists.
Minnesota won their closest game of the year on Sunday, May 22nd, against the same team the Mercury just lost to, the Seattle Storm. The Lynx starters also had great success against Seattle, as each starter scored 11 or more points. Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles both had monster games, combining for 32 points and 17 rebounds.
These two Western Conference powerhouses last took the court across from one another on opening night, May 14th, to kick-off the 20th WNBA season.
The Mercury will be seeking revenge in Wednesday’s battle as they were beaten badly by the Lynx on national television 95-76.
Phoenix’s scary backcourt combo of Penny Taylor and Taurasi was the one bright spot for the Mercury, as the two guards combined for 31 points, seven assists and six steals. After getting into early foul trouble, Griner was basically a no-show in the game, finishing with 12 points and five boards.
After an emotional ring ceremony, Minnesota surprisingly had enough energy to keep the pedal to the metal all game and were just five points shy of the century mark thanks to some great ball movement. Moore finished with 27 points and 10 assists, Fowles also had a double-double, with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Seimone Augustus was on fire all game, notching 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field.
Key Matchup: Seimone Augustus vs. Diana Taurasi
Minnesota did a nice job containing the 5-time WNBA scoring champion in their first matchup just 11 days ago, but Taurasi has seemed to improve quite a bit since then and has shown she still has the capability of taking over ballgames.
Augustus, however, has seemed to struggle a bit after her first brilliant performance of the season.
With both players having incredible playmaking abilities, this guard-on-guard battle should provide plenty of fireworks throughout the night.
Phoenix: G- Taylor, G- Taurasi, F- Bonner, F- Dupree, C- Griner
Minnesota: G- Whalen, G- Augustus, F- Moore, F- Brunson, C- Fowles