Lynx vs. Wings, 7 p.m.
League Pass, BOB 106.1
The Lynx are back in the win column after a victory over the Liberty on Saturday, but they’re far from ready to declare their early-season struggles behind them. A lot went well for Minnesota over the weekend, but at the end of the day it’s just one game. Now comes the hard part—building on that success and stringing together a few wins. Next up: the Dallas Wings and their fearsome inside-out duo of Liz Cambage and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
“I don’t think any of us sit here and say, ‘Well they won a game so everything’s OK, they’re back.’ I think that would be a mistake,” coach Cheryl Reeve said on Monday. “Like I told them, was that just one game? Was that just because we worked hard and had a lot of focus? Now, what about the next game?”
The last time the Lynx faced off against the Wings it was Sylvia Fowles’ night. Against Cambage, Minnesota’s star center went off for 23 points, 20 rebounds, three blocks and five steals. If she can replicate that production tonight the Lynx will be in good shape.
But that won’t be easy. Fowles may have caught Cambage off guard the first time the two met. It was early in the season in Cambage’s return to the WNBA, and she was not yet playing at the level she’s reached now. The Wings center will be ready Tuesday for a real battle between the two of theWNBA’s best centers. Fowles and Cambage have been the league’s leading rebounders this season, averaging 11.8 and 10.6 boards per game, respectively. Additionally, both rank in the WNBA’s top 10 leading scorers so far.
At the top of that same scoring list is Diggins-Smith, who is averaging 21.9 points per game. With a deadly one-two punch in Diggins-Smith and Cambage, it will take a team effort to shut down the Wings. It’s important against Dallas to keep everyone else in control in addition to stopping Diggins-Smith and Cambage as well as possible.
But Minnesota has a one-two punch of their own. We saw on Saturday how important it is for the Lynx to get production from both Fowles and Maya Moore. When both of Minnesota’s stars are firing on all cylinders, it opens things up for the rest of the team in a big way. Minnesota’s bench has really begun to gel, and the Lynx have flashed the potential to be one of the deepest units in the WNBA.
The Lynx’s supporting cast has grown by leaps and bounds since they last played the Wings. In their last contest, Alexis Jones, Cecilia Zandalasini and Temi Fagbenle played a combined 13 minutes and 55 seconds. On Saturday, the trio played 47 minutes. All three players have carved out regular roles off the bench, and have shown significant progress. Zandalasini especially has been a standout—she’s coming off a 13-point performance against the Liberty. The development of the Lynx’s younger bench players has been a nice compliment to Minnesota’s backup guard duo of Danielle Robinson and Tanisha Wright, who have been contributing since day one.
With a record of 4-6, the Lynx cannot afford to take their foot off the gas. They have a real opportunity to fight their way back to a winning record before the end of the month, and beating the Wings is key.
Lynx: PG—Whalen, SG—Augustus, SF—Moore, PF—Brunson, C—Fowles
Wings: PG—Diggins-Smith, SG—Gray, SF—Davis, PF—Thorton, C—Cambage
Lynx: No injuries to report.
Wings: Theresa Plaisance (ACL), Karima Christmas-Kelly (knee) are out.