The Lynx open up their 2019 season on Saturday against the Sky. That’s right folks, after weeks of training camp speculation, the Lynx are ready to play some games!
Playing the Sky is always about matching up with their dynamic guard duo of Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot. Quigley is probably the best shooter in the league from deep and when she catches fire it’s a dangerous thing for her opponents. While Seimone Augustus will start on her, don’t be surprised if the Lynx throw Odyssey Sims in pretty quickly to try and knock her off her rhythm.
On the Lynx’s end it’s going to be very important to get Sylvia Fowles going early against Stephanie Dolson. Dolson is a big, physical defender but Fowles has advantages in skill and speed. Getting out in transition is key.
Off the bench, it will be important to keep an eye on the dynamic Diamond DeShields. DeShields is young but extremely promising and Sims and Lexie Brown will need to be at their defensive best to make sure she doesn’t get going.
There will be a lot of excitement in the building on Saturday and the Lynx will have to focus in quickly to match up with a Sky team with a lot of unknowns. They feel like they underachieved last year when they failed to make the playoffs but there is a lot of talent on that roster.
What: Lynx vs. Sky
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Target Center
Watch: CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports North
It’s fitting that James Wade’s head coaching debut comes against the team where he made a name for himself as an assistant, but there won’t be much strategic advantage one way or another to Wade’s familiarity with the Lynx.
The Lynx run a very different system than they did last year and there are only three players on the team who played with Wade. Though he does know Fowles’ game extremely well, he won’t have too much inside information on how the Lynx plan to play.
On the flip side, Reeve doesn’t know how much of her system Wade plans on implementing in Chicago. There isn’t any regular-season tape on this Sky team under Wade which makes it difficult to scout.
While it will be nice to have Wade back in the building and it’s a storybook way for him to kick off his WNBA head coaching career, that’s about all there is to it.
Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier and Sky draftee Katie Lou Samuelson were not only teammates and best friends in college at the University of Connecticut, they now play the same positions with their respective teams. That means they’ll spend at least a little bit of time in Saturday’s opener matched up against each other.
Collier spent most of her time in the post at UConn while Samuelson operated on the wing, but with Collier’s position shift, she will primarily play small forward. They are two very different players—Samuelson is primarily a shooter while Collier is a more physical player. Collier should try to take Samuelson into the paint where she can use size and strength to overpower her.
On the surface, it looks like Collier has the edge here. She’s a better defender and a more intimidating physical presence. However, Samuelson can get hot—Collier has to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Lynx: PG-Robinson, SG-Sims, SF-Collier, PF-Dantas, C-Fowles
Sky: PG-Vandersloot, SG-Quigley, SF-Samuelson, PF-Williams, C-Dolson
Lynx: Seimone Augustus (knee) is out, Karima Christmas-Kelly (knee) is questionable.
Sky: Jamierra Faulkner (knee) is out, Kahleah Copper (hand) is probable.