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Minnesota Lynx (4-1) at Phoenix Mercury (3-3), 9:00 p.m., US Airways Center
Where to Watch: No TV
Where to Listen: 106.1 BOB FM
It's early in the season, but the Minnesota Lynx sit on top of the Western Conference with a 4-1 record.
Minnesota still has 29 games remaining on its schedule, so it's a little premature to have any parades just yet. In fact, this upcoming road trip could have a big impact on how the regular season standings go. Tonight the Lynx face off against the Phoenix Mercury, who sits just 1.5 games back of Minnesota, and on Friday the Lynx will travel to play a Los Angeles team that sits just one game back of Minnesota.
Head coach Cheryl Reeve isn't looking at her team's opponents. She just wants wins.
"I fully expect that we'll be extremely competitive in both Phoenix and LA," Reeve said. "Collect the Ws. It doesn't matter who they are against. We fully expect after playing Phoenix here at home there will be a heightened sense of urgency. We expect it to be hard."
Last time out
Phoenix is coming off a 108-103 overtime battle against the Tulsa Shock. Phoenix led by eight at the end of the first quarter, but Tulsa would battle back to tie the game at 93 to force overtime. The Mercury outscored the Shock 15-10 in the extra period to collect their third win of the season.
Guard Diana Taurasi scored a team-high 29 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists. Forward DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points. She's scored 20 or more points in three straight games. Forward Candice Dupree finished with 20, while former Lynx forward Charde Houston added 10 points off the bench.
Rookie center Brittney Griner scored 15 points and added five rebounds.
The Lynx are coming off an 83-74 road win over the Shock. The Lynx had a pretty even attack. Forward Rebekkah Brunson continued her road dominance, scoring a team-high 19 points and hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds. Point guard Lindsay Whalen scored 17 points and added six rebounds. Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore combined for 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Phoenix and Minnesota faced off on June 6, when the Lynx dominated the Mercury 99-79 in the Target Center. Moore had a game-high 22 points. Augustus was incredibly efficient, scoring 19 points off 9-of-13 shooting. Amber Harris scored a career-high 18 points, while helping holding Griner to just 16 points.
Taurasi led the Mercury with 21 points.
The last time Minnesota traveled to Phoenix was on September 21 of last season. The Lynx won 89-66 behind 21 points from Moore, while Augustus and Whalen combined for 29 points.
Bonner led Phoenix with 17 points.
The Lynx have won eight straight games against the Mercury. The last road loss against Phoenix came during the 2011 season.
Augustus hopes that stat won't be updated anytime soon. Minnesota's lone loss came on the road this season to Washington, but Augustus thinks the team bounced back nicely.
"No loss is a good loss but the way we responded shows the strength of our team," Augustus said. "It's always a great thing to see how we bounce back from a loss."
Key matchup: Griner vs. McCarville
We could very well add Harris into this, but we didn't have enough room in our graphic. She's 6'5. Cut us some slack.
In the last matchup, Griner was held to 16 points and only five rebounds. She shot just 5-of-11 from the field.
As stated above, Harris had a career-high 18 points and really thrived against the highly-touted rookie. McCarville, on the other hand, may not have affected the box score like Harris, but she certainly had a major effect on the game. She finished with four points and four rebounds, but her physicality in the paint caught Griner off guard. That's saying something considering that McCarville is listed six inches shorter than Griner.
If the Lynx can contain Griner the way they did on June 6, Reeve will be a happy coach.
Minnesota looks to have all players available.
Phoenix guard Alexis Hornbuckle is questionable with an ankle injury, while forward Penny Taylor is questionable with a knee injury.
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