SCOUTING REPORT:

MENZIE HENDERSON
Lynx Writer


Lynx vs. Mercury | 8:00 PM – Target Center
Where to Watch: ESPN2
Where to Listen: BOB 106.1 FM

Big Picture
After earning a trip to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, the Minnesota Lynx had little time to celebrate with the focus shifting quickly to the next tough matchup of Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.

The two squads met five times in the regular season, with the Lynx taking the series 3-2. However, the Mercury is the only team to beat the Lynx twice this season.

With similar styles of fast-paced, high-scoring basketball, the points are bound to add up in a hurry and should give fans an entertaining show. Minnesota averaged 95.4 points per game in the five contests against Phoenix this season and will be able to get back to what they call 'Lynx Basketball' in the preferred uptempo style of both teams.

“We’re known for getting out and scoring and the way we score is just fun," Seimone Augustus stated. "It’s fun when the fans get to see Maya Moore pull up and shoot a patented three-point shot. It’s fun when people get to see me shoot my jumpers, crossover move. It’s fun when you see Whalen slicing and dicing through the lane to get to the basket with the little crafty shots. It’s exciting to see the Lynx play basketball.”

With a matchup of the two most prolific offenses in the WNBA on the big stage, there’s no doubt…it will be exciting. But as Maya Moore said, it also will be a battle.

"Phoenix is a very good offensive team," Moore discussed. "They have got a lot of good experience and they're resilient. They've shown that. I think it's going to be just a battle. Offensively, I think we both are very skilled and it's really going to test both of our defensive efforts."

Last Time Out
The Lynx moved past the San Antonio Silver Stars with an 85-67 victory on Tuesday night at Target Center behind 22 points from Seimone Augusuts.

Despite Diana Taurasi fouling out with 6:38 remaining in Game 3 against the Seattle Storm, Penny Taylor led the Mercury to victory to advance past the defending champions.

The Numbers Game
After combining for just 16 points during the first two games of the series, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Rebekkah Brunson played a large part of Minnesota's scoring in Game 3 against San Antonio by combining for 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting. The post play is an integral part of the Lynx attack, and it will be important for Taj and Brunson to contribute again tonight.

Match-up to Watch
Seimone Augustus vs. Diana Taurasi

The two most potent scorers in the league go head-to-head. Seimone Augustus has been on fire in her first playoff experience of her career. She averaged 21.7 points per game against the Silver Stars in the opening round and has been the most consistent threat for the Lynx. But aside from Augustus’ scoring abilities, she has proved to be one of the best on-ball defenders this season and wants to guard the best opposing player. Of course, that player is Diana Taurasi for the Mercury, who led the league in scoring yet again this season.

When Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin was asked of her Augustus' revamped defensive approach this season, she replied, “I’ve been in the league quite a long time. Seimone Augustus has always been considered an offensive mastermind bascialy, but not so much on the defensive end. This year, Coach [Cheryl] Reeve met with us and put the onus on Seimone as a veteran to pick up her defensive intensity. Now she wants to guard the best player, and she makes them do something different. She is in their cuts, contesting, rebounding and still has the ability to get a smooth 22 points.”

What to Look For
GAME 1: Thurs Sept. 22 8 PM | TIX
GAME 2: Sun Sept. 25 4 PM | TIX
GAME 3: Tues Sept. 27 TBD | TIX
The most intriguing aspect of the two Western Conference powerhouses this year is all of the players that can contribute on a nightly basis. While it has been Augustus and Lindsay Whalen who have been the leaders of the team, Maya Moore or Rebekkah Brunson have the ability to step up and take the reins at any time. The same can be said for the Mercury, who are led by Taurasi but also have Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree. It will be interesting to see which team utilizes their entire aresenal of offensive weapons the best.


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter. Visit the Lynx official Facebook Page here.

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