Saturday's victory in Chicago gave Lynx fans an idea how deep the team can be now that the roster is — with the exception of Rennia Davis — finally healthy.
The Lynx, who scored a season-high 101 points while shooting 54 percent, had six players score in double figures for the second time this season. Two of them, off the bench, were Aerial Powers and Crystal Dangerfield.
Powers was playing for the first time in nine-plus weeks since having surgery on her right thumb. Dangerfield was playing with a rhythm and aggression reminiscent of her 2020 rookie of the year season. Combined they scored 26 points, made 10 of the team's season-best 28 made free throws and scored 15 of Minnesota's 29 fourth-quarter points.
"When that bench comes in and plays the way it did in Chicago, it makes us way better as a team,'' Kayla McBride said.
The Lynx (14-9) just survived a 13-game stretch — one in which they played 10 games on the road — with a 10-3 record. Now they're home for four straight and six of their next seven. This at a time when the roster is finally healthy. Tuesday's game against Seattle at Target Center will be a good test of where this team is heading into the season's stretch run.
Depth could be a big key.
"Look at Seattle's game with Washington,'' Reeve said of the Storm's victory in Washington Sunday, bolstered by a 25-12 edge in bench scoring. "This is a good time for us to be able to come at people in waves.''
Powers brings both skills and intangibles. Able to shoot both from distance and in the paint, she can be a dynamic scorer, something fans haven't seen as she battled a hamstring injury early, then the thumb. And then there is her intensity. "It comes at both ends of the court,'' Kayla McBride said. "She wants to win every possession.''
The Lynx coaches have been pushing Dangerfield to attack offensively, using her scoring skills from the point rather than focusing on facilitating for others the way starter Layshia Clarendon does. A clutch player late in games as a rookie, she is the team's leading fourth-quarter scorer (70 points).
She scored nine of her 16 in the fourth Saturday. "We saw a lot of that last year,'' Bridget Carleton said. "She's huge in the fourth quarter, super clutch. She can be that player off the bench for us.''
Minnesota will need it against the defending-champion Storm, which is 7-0 vs. the Lynx over the last two seasons, including last year's playoff semifinal sweep.