WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL (BEST OF THREE)
Lynx (27-7) vs. Seattle (16-18)
Game 1: 8 p.m. Friday at Target Center, ESPN2
Game 2: 8 p.m. Sunday at Seattle, ESPN
Game 3 (if nec.): Time TBD Tuesday, ESPN2
ON THE COURT
Lynx: They start veteran center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who turns 42 next month and recently reached two milestones -- 5,000 points and 3,000 rebounds. She is a calming presence. Forward Rebekkah Brunson finished fourth in the league in rebounding, averaging 8.9 per game. ... Depth inside is a little thin because Amber Harris has mono and Jessica Adair has battled injuries much of the season. Rookie Devereaux Peters has played well of late and is the first post off the bench. Maya Moore fills up the stats columns as well as anybody in the league, while fellow Olympians Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus are veterans who can dominate a game from the backcourt. Whalen averaged a league-high 5.4 assists; Augustus averaged a team-high 16.6 points and shot 43.7 percent on threes.
Seattle: Lauren Jackson, a three-time league MVP, could be a big factor in this series or mostly a spectator. The 6-6 center missed the first half of the season playing with Australia's national team, and has played sparingly for Seattle since because of hamstring injury. Forward Camille Little is the team's second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game. The Storm usually starts three veteran guards. Sue Bird finished just behind Whalen in assists -- 5.3 per game -- and averages a team-high 12.2 points. Tanisha Wright is second on the assists at 4.4 and former Lynx player Katie Smith has made 44 threes.
Lynx: Coach Cheryl Reeve prefers to go with same starting lineup and often goes only eight players deep. Her teams have won 27 regular-season games the past two seasons. She was on the Detroit coaching staff when the Shock won two titles, so she had three championship rings.
Seattle: Brian Agler coached the Lynx during the team's first three seasons. He has been the Storm coach since 2008. His Seattle teams have made the playoffs every year, winning the title in 2010 but losing in the opening series three times. Tough defense is its trademark.
Lynx in three, and the home team wins every game. The Lynx were 3-1 against Seattle this season and went 16-1 at home. But the Storm beat the Lynx 65-62, a victory that ended the Lynx's 10-game winning streak to open the season.