Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve talked to her team yesterday. Congratulations, she said. Through 10 games -- nearly a third of the season -- you have been in first place in the WNBA's Western Conference.
And, she added, that doesn't mean anything.
"Nobody wins a championship in 10 games," Reeve said before Sunday's game against Phoenix. The winner will assume sole possession of first place. "We don't care about that," Reeve said. "We care about playing well each time we play."
That said, the race in the West is rather tight. Phoenix, entering this game on a five-game winning streak, is -- along with Los Angeles -- in a virtual tie with the Lynx for first place.
And this is a different Phoenix team that lost here, at Target Center, in a one-sided game June 6.
Penny Taylor has made her way back into the rotation. Coming back from an ACL, she has been worked in slowly, but could play as many as 20 minutes tonight.
And Diana Taurasi has reasserted herself as the WNBA's best player, having scored nearly 100 points more than any other player in the league in the month of June.
Taurasi is playing more point, with the ball in her hands, than ever. She will be the main focus of the Lynx defense this evening. And don't forget Brittney Griner, the first-overall pick in the 2013 draft who appears to be coming into her own. When Phoenix played here, Lynx backup center Amber Harris was instrumental in controlling Griner's offense. But Harris hasn't played particularly well since and Reeve said Harris likely won't play a lot tonight.
Here are some other things to look for:
--How will Maya Moore bounce back from here 2-for-11, seven-point night in the big loss in L.A. Tuesday? I will predict she will have a strong night.
--Seimone Augustus also struggled vs. L.A. going 4-for-13 for 10 points. Keep an eye on her as well.
--Watch how the Lynx handle Taurasi, who uses the high pick and roll to get three-point shots. Keeping Taurasi in check is the key for the evening.