Scouting Report: Lynx vs Mercury
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (12-1) vs. Mercury (3-8) – 7 p.m. Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North; WNBA Live Access
Where to Listen: 106.1 FM
Having suffered their first and only loss of the season on the road against Seattle on June 17, it appears that there’s no place like home for the Lynx, who’ve won the last 13 games at Target Center including last year’s playoffs.
“It’s still a long season, but of course we didn’t want to lose and we didn’t want to lose that way,” said Rebekkah Brunson of their loss to the Storm. “We kind of got outworked and outplayed. So we just know that every game we come into we have to be ready.”
The Lynx look to keep their strong play at home alive tonight when they face the Phoenix Mercury at Target Center. Minnesota has beaten Phoenix twice this season and will go for three in a row at 7 p.m.
The Lynx were certainly ready for the most recent contest against the Chicago Sky on Saturday. Opening the game with a 23-8 run, the Lynx kept the lead for the rest of the game, allowing the Sky to pull within five points during a scoring drought in the third quarter, but responding quickly and picking up a 79-67 win. Lindsay Whalen led the Lynx with 25 points and eight assists. Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 12 points and Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore chipped in 10 apiece.
Phoenix comes off a 93-84 loss to Los Angeles Saturday night. The Sparks raced out to a big lead early, and finished the first half up by 22. The Mercury were able to pull within seven in the final two minutes, but came up short, losing their fourth game in the last five.
Sparks guard Kristi Toliver scored a career-high 29 points, Alana Beard had 18 and Jantel Lavender added 11 points and nine rebounds. The Mercury were led by DeWanna Bonner’s 24 points and Samantha Prahalis’s 22.
Last time out
The Lynx have beaten the Mercury twice this season, including a 105-83 win for their home opener and a 78-60 decision on June 15 in Phoenix.
In the June 15 game, Lindsay Whalen exploded for a season-high 29 points, shooting 11-for-14 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. Seimone Augustus added 14 points and Monica Wright finished with 11. Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner had a team-high 18 points and Candice Dupree had 11.
“They’re a young team, and they like to compete,” Seimone Augustus said. “Very competitive team. They’re going to give you their best. We understand they’re missing their leading scorers in Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi. They still compete hard, they still get out in transition like they [would] if Diana was there, and defensively they have gotten a lot better at putting teams in difficult situations.”
Key matchup: Moore vs. Bonner
Maya Moore has kept her place this season as the Lynx’s second-leading scorer after Seimone Augustus. She’s currently averaging 13.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Her sharp shooting from beyond the arc has earned her a third-place ranking in the league for most three-point field goals made with 27.
Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner, along with Candice Dupree, has shouldered much of the scoring burden for a Mercury team facing several injuries to key players, including Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor. Bonner averages 19.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, and has posted two double-doubles this season – one against Atlanta on May 31 and one against Tulsa on June 3. Bonner has scored over 20 points in five of their 11 games this season.
Lynx center Jess Adair underwent arthroscopic debridement of her right knee and the surgery went as expected. She will likely be sidelined until after the Olympic break.
With the Mercury already missing leading scorers Penny Taylor (ACL – out for the season) and Diana Taurasi (left hip flexor – out indefinitely), second-leading scorer Candice Dupree suffered a knee injury during the first quarter of their June 17 game against the Shock. She sat for the remainder of that game and hasn’t returned for their previous two games.
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