By Philip Rossman-Reich
Scouting Report - Lynx (5-3) vs. Mercury (6-3) 7 PM
Minnesota is a very different team than the one that went to Phoenix last week looking to continue a hot start. The Lynx were riding high after beating the Monarch the night before when star forward Seimone Augustus went down in the second quarter against the Mercury. That injury turned out to be season-ending. But at the time, Minnesota rallied to close the lead against Phoenix and was playing a tight game in the third quarter. That's when Diana Taurasi's 3-point barrage finally got the best of the Lynx. Taurasi hit seven 3-pointers and scored 28 points as Phoenix outscored Minnesota 26-12 in the final quarter to take a 104-80 win. It seemed at that time, the Lynx were just out of gas playing on back-to-back nights and without their top player.
Phoenix is on its own three-game road swing. The team dropped its first game in San Antonio after allowing the Silver Stars to score the final eight points in a 91-87 defeat. Despite the loss, Cappie Pondexter (26 points) and Diana Taurasi (22) each poured in the points. But the Mercury bounced back against the Mystics, scoring a 93-87 victory, their first road win of the season. Pondexter had 24 points and Taurasi scored 23.
If there is one thing this Mercury team likes to do, it is score. And with Pondexter and Taurasi, they can do it in bunches and in a hurry. Phoenix is still to the top-scoring team in the league and scores better than 90 points per game. The Mercury also protect the ball, committing only 12.6 turnovers per game and giving up 6.25 steals per game, second lowest in the league. But Phoenix also committed 20 turnovers in the team's win Thursday night. It helped the Mystics keep up with the high-scoring Mercury despite shooting 41.8 percent.
The Lynx are a team that likes to start their fast break off of steals. In this game they will have to find a way to force turnovers or find some other means to spark their fast break.
Keys To A Win For Minnesota:
--Protect the ball and limit fast break opportunities
--Keep up the defensive intensity
--Keep the ball moving and don't depend on one player
--Pressure Taurasi and Pondexter on the perimeter
Matchup To Watch:
Roneeka Hodges vs. Cappie Pondexter
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