Teams Looking to Secure a Playoff Berth
After the Dallas Wings clinched one of the final three playoff spots Monday with a win over the New York Liberty, only two spots remain for a trip to the postseason.
Wednesday, two of those teams in contention, the Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury, are going head-to-head for the fourth time this season. Minnesota is trying for a sweep of the season series, winning by 13, 12 and 11 (double overtime) points thus far,
Phoenix, at 14-19, currently is leading the 13-20 Lynx by a game, with the season ending Sunday.
Though Minnesota currently sits in ninth place, one game behind Phoenix and Atlanta Dream, it has the tiebreaker over both teams by winning each series.
Minnesota and Phoenix are both 5-5 in their last 10, but while the Lynx have won three of their last five, Phoenix lost three of its past five.
The teams first met as part of the Commissioner’s Cup, June 21 in Phoenix. Minnesota defeated the Mercury, 84-71, to end a five-game losing skid. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 25 for Phoenix, but Kayla McBride’s 18 points, combined with Moriah Jefferson’s 12 points and nine assists, proved too much for the Mercury. Jessica Shepard had 13 boards for the Lynx.
The teams returned the favor two days later (June 23) in Minneapolis, again in the Commissioner’s Cup. Minnesota downing Phoenix, 100-88. Sylvia Fowles returned from injury for the Lynx, posting a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds). Jefferson had 21 for Minnesota, while Tina Charles led Phoenix with 26.
The last game between the two clubs-July 12 in Minnesota-went into double overtime, where the Lynx eventually won, 118-107. Phoenix was led by Sophie Cunningham (36 points) and Diggins-Smith (32), Aerial Powers paced Minnesota with 35. Rachel Banham contributed 25 points. However, Minnesota’s three other double-digit scorers appeared to be the difference. Phoenix had just one other player reach double digits in points.
With the playoff hopes on the line for both teams, Wednesday in Phoenix should be another intriguing affair.
Who’s In? Who’s Out?
Minnesota and Phoenix were without key parts of their offense in their last games.
The Lynx defeated the visiting Atlanta Dream, 81-71, but without Aerial Powers, who’s had an impact as a starter.
She’s second on the team in scoring behind Fowles, averaging 14.1 points, while her 4.7 rebound average is third on the Lynx.
Minnesota’s Napheesa Collier made her season debut in that game,
Collier did lead the Lynx in scoring and assists last season, averages of 16.2 and 3.2, respectively. In her return, six points, with two rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.
After a three-game losing skid, the Mercury bounced back at home against the Liberty. this without two of their mainstays.
Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith missed the Mercury’s 76-62 win.
Taurasi, out for the rest of the regular season (strained quad), is second on the team in both scoring (16.7 ppg) and second in assists (3.9 apg).
Phoenix missed its leading scorer against New York, too. Diggins-Smith averages 19.7 points a game, along with a team-high 5.5 assists per game.
Both Diggins-Smith and Powers are expected back Wednesday night.
Battle of the Boards
Minnesota has been one of the best rebounding teams in the league this season, Phoenix hasn’t, and that difference has played a role in the trio of games between these two teams.
The Lynx lead the WNBA in rebounds a game (37.3), led by Fowles’ league-high 9.7 rpg.
The Mercury’s in the bottom two in rebounding at 31.4 per game. Brianna Turner’s seven rpg leads Phoenix on the boards. That is ranking 11th in the league.
Phoenix has been outboarded by Minnesota in all three games (margins of 36-32, 42-23 and 55-44) this season.
Lynx vs Mercury Game Information
- Game: Lynx 13-20 (6-10 on the road) vs Mercury 14-19 (10-5 at home)
- Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
- Day/Time: Wednesday, Aug. 10th, 10 p.m. ET
- Lynx vs Mercury Live Stream: WNBA.com
Lynx vs Mercury Betting Lines
|Minnesota Lynx||-4½ -110||-190||163½ -110o||84 -115o
|Phoenix Mercury||+4½ -110||+165||163½ -110u||79½ -115o
Lynx vs Mercury Prediction
Both teams are off bounce-back wins, and in a close battle for the remaining playoff positions, expect a hard-fought game Wednesday night.
The injury report is something to examine. Powers and Diggins-Smith make a big impact to their respective teams. Taurasi’s loss is already a blow for the Mercury.
Although this game is in Phoenix, that hasn’t posed a problem for Minnesota. Minnesota was able to beat the Mercury solidly in past meetings, so the same result should be expected in the final game.