Who: Seattle Storm vs. Minnesota Lynx
What: 2020 WNBA Playoffs (semifinals)
Where: Bradenton, Florida
When: Sunday, 2:00pm CST on ABC (Game 1)
Why: Why not?!
The semifinals of the 2020 WNBA Playoffs are officially underway tomorrow, with the first game of Sunday’s double-header featuring the Connecticut Sun and the Las Vegas Aces, followed by the Seattle Storm against our very own Minnesota Lynx.
The Storm flat-out dominated the WNBA bubble for most of the season, winning 11 of their first 12 games, most of them by double-digits. A late season stumble from the 2018 WNBA champions dropped them down to the 2-seed, giving the Aces the top spot in the playoffs, but anyone who watched the Storm play this summer knew they were the class of the Wubble.
Seattle won both regular season matchups against Minnesota by an average of 19.5 points, and consistently showed that they were a tier or two above the pesky (albeit very young) Lynx squad. While the regular season and playoffs are two completely different monsters, it will take players like Napheesa Collier and Crystal Dangerfield raising their games to the next level if they hope to upset the dynamic duo of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart.
Speaking of Crystal Dangerfield, it was announced earlier this week that she was officially the recipient of the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year award:
It's official.— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) September 17, 2020
CRYSTAL DANGERFIELD IS ROY pic.twitter.com/DTHVm36gXK
Dangerfield becomes the first player in WNBA history to win the ROY award without being selected in the first round of the draft, and the latest award means that Minnesota has had back-to-back rookies receive this top honor.
Not to be outdone in the hardware department, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve was also the recipient of some praise earlier this week as well:
This was Reeve’s third time winning the Coach of the Year award, and it’s never felt more deserved after the coaching performance she put on this summer in the bubble with such a young, spirited squad. To help celebrate her latest accomplishment, Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders had a special surprise waiting in Reeve’s hotel room when she returned from practice:
Here's something: When Cheryl Reeve got back to her room tonight, a bottle of champagne was waiting for her. congrats on coach of the year, the note said. It was from Wolves coach Ryan Saunders.— Kent Youngblood (@BloodStrib) September 18, 2020
If that wasn’t enough reason to celebrate down in Bradenton, Sunday is also Coach Reeve’s 54th birthday, so expect another glass or two of champagne for the leader of the Lynx.
In terms of injuries, it looks like the Lynx will still be without Lexie Brown due to a concussion, while Sylvia Fowles will be questionable due to her ongoing calf issue.
The following is a @minnesotalynx Injury Report in advance of tomorrow afternoon’s game against the Seattle Storm:— Lynx PR (@Lynx_PR) September 19, 2020
Lexie Brown (Concussion Protocol)- OUT
Sylvia Fowles (Calf)- QUESTIONABLE
The questionable tag definitely makes sense, as Fowles simply did not look like herself in the second-round game against the Phoenix Mercury. If Fowles does indeed suit up, Coach Reeve will have a tough decision to make — on one hand, you don’t want to mess up an offensive flow that has been developing over the last few weeks with Sylvia sidelined; on the other hand, it may be impossible to defeat the Storm in a five-game series without some level of contribution from the two-time WNBA MVP.
As always, we’ll have full analysis and coverage of the semifinal series against Seattle here at Canis Hoopus, but in the mean time be sure to follow our friends @Lynx_Dynasty, @EricInMadison, and @Y0Leo on Twitter for in-game reactions, news, and post-game thoughts.