After winning a tightly contested home game against Connecticut earlier in the week, the Minnesota Lynx traveled to Uncasville, CT to take on the Sun for the second time in a row. The respective rosters and Sylvia Fowles' continued dominance were the only consistent elements in the two games.
Lynx faithful left the Xcel Energy Center confused and underwhelmed Tuesday night after witnessing their team turn the ball over 22 times and give up 10 three pointers to the Sun. The bar has been set so incredibly high by this franchise that despite being unbeaten through four games, Lynx fans had legitimate concerns. Minnesota did a lot to ease the minds of those fans Friday night as they tightened things up on both ends of the floor against Connecticut and dominated almost every aspect of the game.
The Sun allowed too many easy post-entry passes, which led to Sylvia Fowles feasting again, scoring 20 and going 6-7 from the free throw line. It's a testament to Fowles' brilliance that despite hanging 21 points on this same team four nights earlier, she was still able to get plenty of touches with deep paint position. We're still waiting for an opponent to bring a consistent double whenever Big Syl gets the ball on the block.
The front court trio of Fowles, Brunson and Moore has been a marvel to watch on defense. Each of them are supremely athletic and know exactly how and when to help and recover. This group repeatedly made the Sun miss at the rim and then promptly secured the rebound. Minnesota out-rebounded Connecticut 43-27 overall and grabbed 82% of possible defensive boards. Entering this two-game set with the Sun, Connecticut center Jonquel Jones was leading the WNBA in rebounding. Held to 6 and 2 boards respectively over those two games, she is now fourth in the league ranks.
The Connecticut Sun might not be a good basketball team. They are now one of two winless teams remaining in the league. Their road-heavy early season schedule is brutal. Without Chiney Ogwumike, they don't have the talent to dig themselves out of the standings hole they find themselves in. The Sun have lots of interesting pieces, but they seem a few years away as a total unit.
Maya Moore had another bad night shooting the ball (1-9 FG). She is now 22/75 from the field on the season (29.3%). While this is not ideal, she is as good as she's ever been in her career, both on defense and rebounding the ball. The shooting will come.
The 26 points the Sun scored in the first half was the fewest by a Lynx opponent in a first half since 2015. They continue to dominate defensively.
With this blowout victory, the Lynx have officially exorcised whatever demons haunted them in 2016 as they lost twice at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Speaking of Mohegan Sun, the arena is another example of a "small" building that seems to work well for the WNBA. Attendance for Friday's game was 6,333 in a building that holds 8,300. It looked full and seemed fairly loud. Contrast this with Wednesday's Sparks/Fever game, in which 5,875 people watched at Banker's Life Fieldhouse, a space that seats 20,000. It seemed like ghost town.
Lynx return to St. Paul to get their first look at 2017 #1 overall draft pick and NCAA D1 Women’s Basketball All-Time leading scorer Kelsey Plum as the San Antonio Stars come to town. Plum made her WNBA debut on Thursday. She had five turnovers and four points in 12 minutes.