In 120 days, the 2020 Lynx season will be underway. Start your countdown if you haven’t already.
The Lynx’s 2020 schedule was released on Thursday, Jan. 16, and although you’ll want to catch every moment of action in the upcoming season, I’ve highlighted some of the marquee matchups you’ll want to be present for at Target Center.
Lynx vs. Aces – 7 p.m., Friday, May. 29
(2019 record vs. Aces: 1-2)
Sylvia Fowles vs. Liz Cambage. A’ja Wilson vs. Napheesa Collier. Kelsey Plum vs. Odyssey Sims. Cheryl Reeve vs. Bill Laimbeer. It was hard to top these matchups in 2019.
The Lynx lost to the Aces by five points in both of their first two matchups with Las Vegas in the 2019 season. However, the Lynx avoided a series shutout by defeating the Aces 98-77 at Target Center on Aug. 25. Mind you, that Lynx win came just three weeks before the Aces began their playoff run to the semifinals. It was one of the Lynx’s best overall games of the season and was included in their final five-game winning streak. The three-game series featured 13 total lead changes and 13 ties.
Lynx vs. Aces games always provide plenty of hard-fought, physical competition, which makes for some rowdy fans. You’ll want to be a part of the commotion on Sunday, May 29.
May 29 is the first time the Lynx will face the Aces at home in the 2020 season, but they’ll also play in Las Vegas on June 9 and host the Aces on Sept. 6.
Lynx vs. Liberty – 2 p.m., Sunday, June 5
(2019 record vs. Liberty: 2-1)
Recent Lynx- and Liberty-related news should indicate why you’ll want to be at Target Center on June 5.
Former Lynx legend Katie Smith served as the New York Liberty’s head coach for two seasons (2018-19) before returning to Minnesota to join Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve’s coaching staff in January. But the Lynx and Liberty connections don’t end at Smith.
Former Lynx assistant coach Walt Hopkins was named the Liberty’s new head coach in January. Hopkins began his career in the WNBA in 2017 when he was hired by the Lynx and served as an assistant coach to the team through the 2019 season. The Lynx recorded a 63-39 record while Hopkins was on board.
Not only will the Lynx vs. Liberty June 5 matchup be the first chance Lynx fans get to watch Smith and Hopkins go up against their former teams at Target Center, but it’ll also be the first time they’ll be able to see the 2020 No. 1 draft pick live in action.
The Lynx and Liberty’s first 2020 matchup will be held on May 31 at Barclays Center, the Liberty’s new home arena. They’ll meet again at Target Center on Aug. 22.
Lynx vs. Sparks – 2 p.m., Sunday, June 7
(2019 record vs. Sparks: 0-3)
Only two teams swept their season series against the Lynx in 2019 — the Finals-winning Washington Mystics and the Los Angeles Sparks.
Everyone knows the Lynx’s history with the Sparks. The two teams met in the playoffs five times in the 2010s, including the 2016 and 2017 seasons where they faced off in the Finals. Last year was the first season since 2014 that the two teams didn’t cross paths in the postseason, and their rivalry has soon begun to dissipate. However, keeping last year’s record against the Sparks in mind, I would guess the Lynx will be hungry for revenge in this year’s three-game series with L.A.
Fun fact: Lexie Brown averaged 7.6 points per game in 2019 but averaged 17.3 points per game when facing the Sparks. Brown shot 50% from the field and 48% from 3-point range against L.A. Keep an eye out for what she does against the Sparks in Year 3.
After their series opener on June 7, the Lynx and Sparks will meet at Staples Center on June 11 and return to Target Center on Aug. 19.
Lynx vs. Mercury – 7 p.m., Friday, June 19
(2019 record vs. Mercury: 3-0)
It’s a given that the Lynx want to beat all of their opponents. No duh. But it always seems like they come out with a little extra fire to beat the Mercury when given the chance to do so.
Last season, that fire did wonders for the Lynx.
The Lynx swept the Mercury in 2019 and pulled off double-digit wins in their final two games against Phoenix. However, the series still featured 11 total lead changes and 10 ties.
Fowles and Phoenix’s Brittney Griner may have the utmost respect for each other off of the court, but on the court, they don’t hold back when tasked with defending one another. Fowles is entering her 13th season in the league, and 2020 will be Griner’s seventh WNBA season. You don’t want to miss their remaining matchups.
The Lynx vs. Mercury four-game series will begin in Phoenix on May 26. The two teams will face each other in Phoenix once again on Sept. 18 before closing their regular seasons at Target Center two days later.
Lynx vs. Sky – 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30
(2019 record vs. Sky: 3-0)
Personally, last year’s games against the Sky were some of my favorite 2019 Lynx games.
Minnesota began its 2019 regular season by hosting Chicago on May 25 and recorded a 21-point win. The game wasn’t competitive, but we got our first glimpse of what Napheesa Collier could do in this league. Collier recorded a season-high 27 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals in her debut and quickly became a Rookie of the Year favorite. I thought those predictions were premature back in May of 2019. I was wrong.
The Sky were one of the most-improved teams over the course of the 2019 season, and the Lynx soon found that out on July 10 when they defeated Chicago 73-72 at Wintrust Arena. Chicago’s Allie Quigley put on a shooting clinic by hitting six of her 13 3-point attempts. Even Lynx fans have to admit it’s fun watching her shoot. Sims led the Lynx in scoring with 16 points, but Fowles and Danielle Robinson both notched double-doubles in points and rebounds. Let me remind you, Robinson is a 5-foot-9 guard.
The two teams closed their 2019 series at Target Center on Aug. 27 with a 93-85 Lynx win. Fowles posted a season-high 25 points in this game, but the night was extra special for the Lynx because they clinched a playoff berth for the ninth straight season. Many doubted the Lynx’s chances of qualifying for the postseason before the regular season even began. Now that was a premature prediction.
The Lynx’s Aug. 30 home game against the Sky will be the first and only time they host Chicago at Target Center during the 2020 season. Minnesota will face the Sky at Wintrust Arena on May 15 and June 21.