By Philip Rossman-Reich
Scouting Report - Lynx (10-10) vs. Sun (10-9) 7 PM
WHERE TO WATCH: FSN-North, NBATV, WNBA LIVE ACCESS
WHERE TO LISTEN: BOB 106 FM
The Lynx are back in action after a six-day hiatus trying to solve their post-All Star break woes. Minnesota has lost three in a row since the break to fall back to .500 and has dropped five of its last six. The team has used the long layoff to rediscover their identity, recharge and prepare for the stretch run. With three games left on a season-long four-game homestand, the Lynx need to find their footing quickly and take advantage of the remaining schedule at Target Center. This stretch at home though is no picnic though. After dropping Saturday's game with Phoenix, Minnesota faces Connecticut on Friday. That game is followed by the Silver Stars, who trail the Lynx by a half game for third place in the Western Conference, on Sunday and the Eastern Conference-leading Fever on Thursday. A tough stretch indeed.
The next test comes from Connecticut, who have struggled since hosting the All-Star game on July 25. The Sun have lost three of four games since the break, but won their last game 83-65 over the Shock on Sunday. In that game Connecticut got a strong effort from All Star Asjha Jones, who scored 20 points. Lindsey Whalen scored 22 to help the Sun rout the defending champions. Connecticut has been cruising along and sits in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with Washington. Jones leads the team with 17.3 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game. Whalen scores 11.3 per game and Sandrine Gruda averages 11.7 per game and 6.4 rebounds per contest.
Connecticut is very much about ball control on offense and is very disciplined in the half court. The team scores 75.4 points per game and gives up 73.2 per game. It will be important for the Lynx to disrupt the offensive tempo and play their own style. Coach Jen Gillom said in recent losses the team has allowed other teams to force the tempo on Minnesota rather than Minnesota playing how it wants to play. Connecticut might be the kind of team that can dictate the tempo and play a disciplined style of ball throughout the contest.
The Lynx have struggled with the Sun in the past few seasons. Minnesota has lost seven of its last eight games to Connecticut, a streak dating back to 2005. The team's last win came in a four-point overtime win at the Target Center in 2007. To break that streak, Minnesota will need to rediscover what made the team successful earlier in the season.
One of the big attractions to the Target Center will be the return of Hutchinson, Minn., native and University of Minnesota alumna Lindsay Whalen. Whalen has had a big impact on sports in Minnesota having her jersey retired at University of Minnesota and being named Sportsperson of the Year by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Pioneer Press in 2004.
Keys To A Win For Minnesota:
--Play your tempo
--Take care of the glass
--Force the ball out of the post
Matchup To Watch:
Roneeka Hodges vs. Lindsay Whalen
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