Lynx vs. Mercury, 7:00 p.m.
ESPN2, BOB 106.1
Another game, another great frontcourt matchup.
After a 1-2 road trip, the Lynx are back in Target Center tonight to take on Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury. The Lynx have won 13 in a row against the Mercury (including playoff matchups) dating back to August of 2015. Griner, the 6-9 center for the Mercury, is off to a strong start in 2018. She’s averaging 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game on 57.1 percent shooting from the field.
Griner will be another tough matchup for Sylvia Fowles in a league that is increasingly being defined by strong frontcourt players. Fowles has not backed down from her competition though, she leads the WNBA in rebounding with 12.8 per game, and is adding 16.6 points on 62.7 percent shooting.
The Lynx and Fowles have a good track record of containing Griner. In the last two years, Griner has never scored more than 15 points against Minnesota, and has been held to single digits three times. The last time the two teams met, Fowles double-doubled with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and added two blocks and three steals.
Fowles (whose ankle is feeling much better after it was a little sore against Atlanta), never lets herself get too wrapped up in individual matchups, but she said she’s looking forward to facing Phoenix.
“It’s always good to go up against Brittney, but there’s more than Brittney to their team,” said Fowles.
She’s right. Shutting down Griner is just one part of a much more difficult challenge in stopping the Mercury. Phoenix’s 14-year veteran guard Diana Taurasi is off to yet another good start with the team—she’s scoring 16.2 points and dishing out 2.4 assists per game. Forward DeWanna Bonner is also averaging 14.2 points per game, giving the Mercury three players who average double figures. Phoenix is experienced and smart—just like the Lynx aren’t panicking about their slow start, the Mercury are another team that knows what they are capable of.
This is the first time Danielle Robinson will face her former team since joining the Lynx. Robinson played with the Mercury in 2017, starting in 29 games, before the Lynx traded for her this offseason.
The Lynx are looking to get back in the win column after a tough couple days, but the Mercury will bring motivation of their own. After winning their first two games, the Mercury have dropped three in a row, and are tied with the Lynx for third place in the Western Conference.
“I would imagine both teams are feeling a level of desperation that could lead to a really good basketball game,” said coach Cheryl Reeve. “We know we have to get it done. Period. It’s not complicated, it doesn’t take analytics, it doesn’t take magical plays or schemes, it takes what we know wins basketball games which is a passion for what you’re doing. I could go ask them to stand on their heads as far as a scheme. If they go do it passionately, I bet we could get a stop.”
Lynx: PG—Whalen, SG—Augustus, SF—Moore, PF—Brunson, C—Fowles
Mercury: PG—January, SG—Taurasi, SF—Bonner, PF—Lyttle, C—Griner
Lynx: No injuries to report.
Mercury: No injuries to report.