Greetings on a sultry Sunday night in Minneapolis.
OK, so this is my first season covering the WNBA, and I continue to be amazed at some of the things I see. The Lynx have played three games with fellow Western Conference favorite Los Angles and all three have been blowouts, the home team winning each time.
The Lynx come home from losing by 30 at L.A. Tuesday and play Phoenix Mercury which, with five straight wins heading into the game, were the West’s hottest team. And the Lynx respond with a 32-point victory.
Is home court that important?
But seriously, folks, even for the 11th game of the season, this was important. The Lynx may be trying to figure out how to be consistent on the road, but they have won 14 straight at home now dating back to last season, and keeping that going is paramount; the Lynx host the hottest team in the WNBA in Atlanta Tuesday, and they’ll almost certainly do it without Seimone Augustus, who sprained her left ankle in the second quarter and left Target Center on crutches.
But, for now, the Lynx remain in first place in the West, something they’ve had at least a share of for nearly two calendar years.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
1. Tonight’s team defense was as impressive as any game the Lynx have played this season. And, once again, it started with Whalen, who jumped a passing lane on the first play of the game. I mean, very, very impressive defense. The Lynx trapped in an attempt to keep the ball away from Diana Taurasi. At the very least it affected the Phoenix flow. Taurasi was player of the month for June. Tonight she scored four points on 2-for-6 shooting with three turnovers. It was her first game under 10 points this season.
2. And it didn’t end there. Rebekkah Brunson, Janel McCarville and Devereaux Peters off the bench did a great job disrupting the play of Phoenix center Brittney Griner, who scored eight points and had 11 rebounds, but was never really a factor. At least on offense (she did block four shots). Overall, the Mercury shot 36 percent from the field.
3. Augustus will be re-examined Monday. Coach Cheryl Reeve said it wasn’t a typical sprain, where a player rolls the ankle outward. This time, stepping on a foot, it rolled inward. She will have an MRI taken of the ankle. But I don’t expect her to play for a while, and the Lynx have a jam-packed week ahead of them, hosting Atlanta Tuesday, then playing at Indiana Thursday and at Tulsa Saturday.
4. After getting engaged to Kevin Durant, Monica Wright went out and scored a season-high 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting with three assists and three steals. She will be leaned on heavily in the short term if Augustus cannot play.
5. Maya Moore went 2-for-11 in the loss in L.A., then missed her first five shots tonight. But what a rebound. She came out and scored 14 third-quarter points on 6-for-8 shooting. She finished with 23 points, five assists and two blocks.
6. McCarville has seen just about enough of Griner. In the first game with the Mercury at Target Center she took an elbow to her lower lip. Tonight she got another elbow, this time to the upper lip.
That’s about all for now. Have a great night and I will get back to you if the Lynx issue an update on Augustus’ condition Monday.