Lynx at Sun, 1:00 p.m.
Mohegan Sun Arena
NBA TV, BOB 106.1
The Lynx are facing the Sun on Saturday afternoon in what will be a real test for Minnesota on the road. Connecticut has the best record in the WNBA, and the team plays an unselfish brand of basketball that is very hard to stop or score against.
As I wrote in my column this week, the Sun don’t have any players who make the list of the top-20 scorers this WNBA season. They do, however, have six different players who average double figures. The Sun average the most points per game in the WNBA, shoot the third-highest percentage, and lead the league in assists. They also allow the second-fewest points to their opponents, and hold teams to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the league. Oh, and they force 16.3 turnovers per game, second only to the Sparks.
Long story short, this will be a tough one.
But the Lynx are up to the challenge. After a tough couple games, the Lynx seem to have come close to figuring out the right combination of team veterans and new additions to use to win games. Danielle Robinson still needs to work on her turnovers, but her speed in the open court is starting to break things open for the Lynx’s offense. Tanisha Wright has also played very well in the Lynx’s last two games. In Minnesota’s win over the Mystics, Wright spent time at both guard positions, so look for her to be moved around similarly in this one.
The Lynx are never going to be a team that relies on their three-point shooting to win games, but they’ve found a good balance of getting up shots from beyond the arc and finding good looks. They are second in the WNBA in three-point percentage, shooting 35.9 percent on 14.6 attempts. This efficiency could be important versus the Sun. The Sun are a great defensive team, but they’ve allowed opponents to shoot 33.3 percent from three this season, a respectable mark, but not as intimidating as the 40.7 percent they allow from the floor.
On defense, it’s going to have to be a team effort. As I previously noted, the Sun have a lot of players who can beat you, so the game plan is less about neutralizing a few key players and more about trusting the defensive scheme and sticking to assignments. The Lynx will have to find a balance between cutting off passes in order to limit assists, and being caught out of position. The Sun take pretty good care of the ball, but they’re not elite. They move the ball very well and generate a ton of assists but that ball movement could be used against them.
Taking care of the ball on offense is always crucial, but it takes on another level of importance against the Sun. Connecticut loves to force turnovers, and because they run such an efficient offense, the Lynx absolutely must avoid giving them extra possessions. The Lynx also have to win the rebounding battle against a great team on the boards.
This game will be a true test of the Lynx’s progress, but if they can come away with the win, they will be able to return home to Minnesota feeling good about where their squad stands. It’s a 1 p.m. game here in the Midwest, perfect for a lazy morning-turned-afternoon. As always, you won’t want to miss this one.
Lynx: PG—Whalen, SG—Augustus, SF—Moore, PF—Brunson, C—Fowles
Sun: PG—Williams, SG—Thomas, SF—Ogwumike, PF—Thomas, C—Jones
Lynx: No injuries to report.
Sun: No injuries to report.