Scouting Report: Lynx vs. Mystics
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (15-4) vs. Mystics (4-15) - 7 p.m. Target Center
Where to Watch: NBA TV; WNBA LiveAccess
Where to Listen: 106.1 FM
At the press conference Wednesday to welcome Olympians Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore back home, the three discussed their experiences on and off the court in London, as well as the transition back to WNBA basketball.
"It was a great time, but more importantly we showed the world what we are capable of as 'Los Lynx' worldwide," Augustus said. "We got a lot of opportunities to play together. I think people understood that we are one of the best teams in the league."
Back at Target Center tonight for the first time in over a month, they'll have the chance to drive this point home as they take on the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m.
Although it's been awhile since they played as a team, Minnesota headed into the Olympic break on a positive note, routing the Shock on both July 10 and 12 by a combined 36 points. Maya Moore was a top contributor both nights, scoring 24 and 28 points respectively.
Washington ended the first half of the season with a 70-53 victory over the New York Liberty but fell 84-66 to Indiana last night, their first game back after the break. Washington kept it close until the third quarter, when the Mystics shot just 2-of-13 and were outrebounded by the Fever 16-6. Monique Currie led the way for Washington with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Michelle Snow chipped in 11 pooints and seven rebounds.
Last time out
The Lynx have faced the Mystics just once this year, escaping with a 79-77 win in Washington on May 30. After holding a lead for most of the game, Minnesota found itself trading baskets with a determined Mystics team in the final minutes. It was Lindsay Whalen who had the final word, driving for a layup with seconds remaining, missing and grabbing her own rebound for the put-back and the win.
Moore and Rebekkah Brunson each had 16 points on the night, and Brunson grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to help the Lynx to a 30-22 advantage on the boards. Augustus had 15 points, and Whalen chalked up 11 points and seven assists.
The Lynx's greatest defensive challenge came in Mystics backup guard Matee Ajavon, who scored a season-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting including two three-pointers. Washington saw 13 points each from Monique Currie and Noelle Quinn and 12 from Crystal Langhorne.
Key matchup: Brunson vs. Langhorne
Having missed the last two games against Tulsa with a strained calf, Rebekkah Brunson has used the Olympic break as a no-rush period for recovery and has been fully participating in practices. Still the team's third-leading scorer behind Augustus and Moore, the Lynx have come to rely on Brunson's numbers on the offensive side. But on the other end of the court, Brunson and her teammates will be tasked with shutting down a backcourt comprised of Michelle Snow, Monique Currie and Crystal Langhorne.
Langhorne has been Washington's leading scorer this season, averaging 16.6 points. She's shooting almost 60 percent from the field, ranking her third in the league in field goal percentage, and her presence inside helped keep her team in their previous game against the Lynx. But Langhorne came up short last night, with only four points to show for her 30-plus minutes of play against Indiana.
Before the break, Brunson, Jessica Adair (knee) and Devereaux Peters (finger) were all watching from the sidelines. With the month off, all three returned to practicing and seem to be ready to go.
Veteran center Taj McWilliams-Franklin said during a WNBA conference call with several other players that those facing injuries were not the only ones to benefit from the break.
"I think most veterans would say that they love the break," McWilliams-Franklin said. "Coming back in and just slowly acclimating back into our normal practice times, practice speed, has helped tremendously as far as saving your legs, being able to play harder, longer, in the end while you're vying for a playoff spot. Having allowed your vets to rest now, you have a bigger push during the final part of the season, during the playoffs."
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