Scouting Report: Lynx vs. Mystics
Washington Mystics (0-0) vs. Minnesota Lynx (0-0) - 7 p.m. Bismarck Civic Center, Bismarck, N.D. (Preseason)
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It's not a regular season game, but Saturday's matchup against the Mystics certainly is an important one.
The Lynx have just two preseason games to prepare before they host the Connecticut Sun on June 1 in their regular season opener. The expectations differ for each team heading into 2013.
Last year, the Lynx tied their franchise-record 27 regular season wins before falling to the Indiana Fever in four games in the WNBA Finals. Since then, Minnesota lost Taj McWilliams-Franklin to retirement and guard Candice Wiggins via trade, but the Lynx also added pieces during a busy offseason. Center Janel McCarville was welcomed back to Minnesota, and the team drafted Lindsey Moore out of the Nebraska, a point guard head coach Cheryl Reeve hopes will help give the backcourt depth.
With the new faces, it's expected the Lynx will rotate players to give Reeve a chance to see some new faces in game action. Unlike last year, when the regular season roster was all but set heading into the team's two preseason tilts, this year's club has some moving parts that will be partially cleared up over their two preseason games. Minnesota must trim their roster from 14 to 11 players before the regular season, and two or three of those spots are currently up for grabs.
The Mystics finished with a 5-29 record last season, which ranks as their second-worst season in team history.
Washington added Minneapolis-native Tayler Hill with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft. Hill averaged a Big Ten best 20.4 points per game during her senior season at Ohio State.
Last time out
The Lynx dominated the Mystics 98-69 when the two squads played on Aug. 17 last season.
More than a few Lynx players got involved when it came to putting up the points. Guard Seimone Augustus had a game-high 20 points, while guards Maya Moore and Monica Wright both added 17. Forward Rebekkah Brunson and guard Lindsay Whalen scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Crystal Langhorne and Monique Currie all scored 12 points for the Mystics.
The Mystics have dropped four straight to the Lynx dating back to 2010.
Washington already has one preseason game under its belt. The Mystics defeated the Brazil national team on Wednesday evening 71-56. Hill had a team-high 12 pints to go along with two steals.
Key matchup: Brunson vs. Crystal Langhorne
Looking for consistency? That's what Brunson brings to the table. She's averaged 10 or more points in six straight seasons and seven or more rebounds in seven straight. With the departure of McWilliams-Franklin, Brunson and her consistency will be depended on.
She'll matchup with Langhorne, who is a forward/center hybrid for the Mystics.
Although Langhorne's points per game have decreased in each of the last two seasons, she still averaged 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds last season. She was named the WNBA's Most Improved Player in 2009 and made the All-Star team in 2010 and 2011. When the two matched up on Aug. 17 last season, the battle was pretty even. Brunson finished with11 points and seven rebounds, while Langhorne ended with 12 points and three rebounds.
Lynx rookie guard Sugar Rodgers, a former Georgetown Hoya, will miss tonight's game as she is graduating college today. Forward Devereaux Peters will miss tonight's game due to personal reasons. McCarville dealt with back injuries earlier in the week, but is expected to play. For Washington, guards Matee Ajavon and Ivory Latta did not play in Wednesday's game against Brazil.
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