Scouting Report: Lynx at Mercury
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (9-0) vs. Mercury (2-5) – 9 p.m. U.S. Airways Center
Where to Watch: No TV; WNBA Live Access
Where to Listen: 106.1 FM
After a five-day break and three days of practice, the Minnesota Lynx are rested and ready to take on the Mercury tonight in Phoenix. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.
This long break is a luxury for this year’s team, one they’re not used to having, with no more than two days between any of this season’s prior games.
“Sometimes it’s hard when you have three days,” said coach Cheryl Reeve of their practice time this week. “It’s hard for them because they want to pace themselves. These guys didn’t do that. We’re so lucky as a staff that whatever we throw them into...they’re doing it pretty hard and they’re not trying to save themselves. I think we got better this week.”
With a win, the Lynx would set a new WNBA record by starting the season with a 10-0 record.
Sitting at a WNBA record-tying 9-0, the Lynx’s most recent win came against the Shock on Saturday, a 93-73 win in which Maya Moore scored 26 points. Tulsa stayed close for the first half but couldn’t hang with the Lynx in the third quarter, during which Moore scored 14 of her points and Minnesota went on a 26-16 run to put them up 70-58.
Monica Wright, playing in Seimone Augustus’s spot (strained quad), put up 18 points, and Rebekkah Brunson had 15. Lindsay Whalen dished out 10 assists. Tulsa’s Jennifer Lacy posted a team-high 15 points, followed by Temeka Johnson’s 14. Kayla Pederson grabbed 10 rebounds on the night.
The Mercury come off a 90-74 loss to the Sparks in Los Angeles. Phoenix was led by Charde Houston’s 22 points and DeWanna Bonner’s 18, but had no answer for a Sparks team that had three players score over 20 points.
Last time out
The Lynx shot 57.1 percent from the field in their last matchup against the Mercury, beating them 105-83 on May 20 to open the regular season. Six Lynx scored in double digits to secure the win, including Seimone Augustus (19), Monica Wright (15), Maya Moore (13), Lindsay Whalen (13), Rebekkah Brunson (12) and Candice Wiggins (11).
The Lynx’s bench outscored the Mercury’s reserves 40-8, with most of Phoenix’s points coming from their starters: Charde Houston had 24 points, DeWanna Bonner had 22 and Candice Dupree had 13.
Key matchup: Moore vs. Bonner
Reigning Rookie of the Year Maya Moore has been putting up big numbers this season as the Lynx’s second leading scorer after Seimone Augustus. With 14.7 points per game and 4.1 rebounds, Moore has continued to be an offensive threat. She comes off a 26-point game in Tulsa on Saturday, in which she shot 5-for-8 from three. Even after such an impressive showing, Moore always credits her team.
“That's the strength of our team is our team: one through 11,” said Moore after Tuesday’s practice. “And we really pride ourselves on making sure that everybody is competitive and everybody can come in and contribute, because we can. You know, we're at the point where we're talented enough, and we have the experience to know how to compete every game.”
DeWanna Bonner has been the Mercury’s leading scorer this season, putting up 18.6 points and grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game. She posted an impressive 22 points against the Lynx in their early-season matchup, and peaked during a 23-point showing against the Shock on June 3. Bonner has been a key part of a Mercury team that is adjusting to playing without star Diana Taurasi (hip flexor).
The Lynx have been without starting guard and leading scorer Seimone Augustus for their last 2 games due to a strained quad. She returned to practice this week and is listed as questionable for tonight’s contest.
Phoenix’s Penny Taylor is sidelined for the season due to a torn ACL incurred during play overseas during the offseason. She has since undergone successful surgery. Also missing from the Mercury’s lineup is guard Diana Taurasi, who has missed all but two games so far this season due to a strained left hip flexor and is out indefinitely.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.