Shootaround Access | Game 1 – Lynx vs. Mystics

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

We’ve finally made it. The semifinal round of the 2017 WNBA Playoffs presented by Verizon is here.

The top-seeded Minnesota Lynx will host the sixth-seeded Washington Mystics on Tuesday night at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

For the Lynx, the journey of chasing another championship begins tonight.

“This is another challenge, but what championship road is easy? We’re just going to take what comes and just play the game,” Maya Moore said following shootaround Tuesday morning. “We’re excited, we had some good practices (at Williams Arena). We’re going to get going tonight.”

Minnesota will face Washington, who the Lynx actually faced in their last game that they played on Sept. 3 in St. Paul. Minnesota won the regular season finale 86-72.

“I think it’s beneficial for both teams having played our last game. It’s fresh on our minds, the things we want to do,” Moore said. “Being able to watch them play, they have a bounce in their step and a rhythm going. We’re going to have to come in with focus and energy tonight.

“Every team that is here at this point is really good and has the ability to beat any team. . .¬†We’re trying to make sure that we protect home court.”

The Lynx and Mystics will face off on one half of the WNBA playoff semifinals, while the other side of the bracket will feature No. 2 Los Angeles vs. No. 5 Phoenix.

“We’re going to see the best out of everybody. I think we’re prepared for that,” Rebekkah Brunson said. “We know that we have to elevate everything we did throughout the regular season for the playoffs. We have to be prepared no matter what happens.”

Whalen Back At Williams

The Lynx enter Tuesday’s game having everyone healthy, which includes point guard Lindsay Whalen.

Whalen will return to action for the first time since going down with a hand injury on Aug. 3.

Whalen, who played college basketball at Minnesota for the Golden Gophers, also returns to her college court Tuesday night.

“It’s pretty crazy, not much has changed,” Whalen said of Williams Arena. “I never thought I could be back here playing. We have a lot at stake obviously tonight, but it’s one game and it starts tonight. It should be fun.”

Whalen has worked extremely hard to recover from her injury to make sure she is healthy to return to both Williams Arena and the playoffs.

“I’ve been working hard for this day after I got hurt and since I had the surgery. Thinking back to the night I had surgery and how miserable you feel kind of coming down off of anesthetics and the pain pills and everything and thinking how far a person can come in about a month and a half or so,” Whalen said. “I feel good, just because I know I’ve worked hard to get myself into this situation to be here. There might have been some times during where you think, will I be able to do it? But the hard work has paid off and now I’m here.”

The Lynx, led by Whalen at her alma mater, will host the Mystics in Game 1 at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Williams Arena. The game will be aired on ESPN2, 106.1 BOB FM and TuneIn Radio.

And you think Whalen is ready to return to action? You guessed right.

“Yeah, definitely,” she said. “Are you guys?”