The Lynx can beat the Mercury. They have three times already this season.
Here are three keys to winning tonight:
1) Make some three-pointers. The Lynx have been inconsistent in shooting threes. But against Phoenix someone, Candice Wiggins, Maya Moore or Lindsay Whalen will have to make some. Why? Because the Mercury will. And it's hard to keep pace with a team making threes if your team is scoring by twos or ones at the free throw line.
Seimone Augustus said Diana Taurasi gets off her three-pointer as quick or quicker than anyone. Both teams have averaged in the 90s in their five meetings. So there should be some points scored.
2) Strong bench play. The Lynx had a nine-game winning streak going in the middle of the season until they went out to Phoenix and lost by five points. The big reason? Zero points from the bench.
The Lynx's five starters, expecially 40-year-old Taj McWilliams-Franklin, will need rest here and there because of the hectic pace the Mercury play at. The Lynx like to push the pace at times, too. The subs need to do their share of the scoring and contribute in other ways because Phoenix usually gets something from its bench. Especially dangerous is 6-4 string bean DeWanna Bonner. She is the three-time Sixth Player of the Year. She averaged just over 10 points and a career-high seven rebounds.
3. The Lynx should never be satisfied with a lead or lose hope if you fall behind. Seattle led Phoenix by 18 in the first half on Monday, but rallied to win the deciding game in their series 77-75 on Candice Dupree's basket with 1.9 seconds. By the same token, teams can rally against the Mercury because they put the ball up so fast. So if they start missing, their opponents can close quickly. Phoenix was 12th in the WNBA in points given up.
Geno Auriemma, UConn's coach, will be one of the game analysts for ESPN2. He coached Maya Moore and Charde Houston of the Lynx and Diana Taurasi of Phoenix and should provide a few insights on them.
Geno also will be the coach of the U.S. women's team in the 2012 London Olympics. Five Lynx players are among the candidates for that team: Moore, Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Candice Wiggins.