After losing to the San Antonio Stars on Sunday, the Mystics find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in. While it’s arguable that missing the playoffs wouldn’t be such a bad thing, it would also be a disappointment after three straight years of playoff appearances. The battle for the 8th seed will be intense, and a victory against the mighty Minnesota Lynx on the road would be a big morale booster.
When: Friday, September 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Where: The Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.
TV: Streaming on WNBA League Pass.
The Mystics will be without Bria Hartley for the remainder of the 2016 season.
After missing the first part of the 2016 season due to National Team obligations, Anna Cruz isn’t expected to re-join the Lynx until September 3rd.
The Bad News
The Minnesota Lynx are good. Really good. They have five players from the United States Women’s National Team (Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen). After trailing the L.A. Sparks for most of the season, the Lynx have regained the overall #1 seed. They are 22-5 on the season. They will have had four days rest and will be playing on their homecourt.
Smart money is probably on the Lynx to win this one.
The Good News
But before you bet your life savings away, consider this: The Mystics have been strangely successful against the Lynx. In the Mike Thibault era they are 5-3. The season series is currently tied at 1-1.
Keys to Victory
Pull Sylvia Fowles away from the rim
Fowles is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year. She owns the paint. Scoring inside will be a nightmare for posts and guards alike.
Lucky for the Mystics, their post rotation features multiple players who can hit shots from midrange and behind the arc. If Stefanie Dolson, Emma Meesseman, and Kia Vaughn can hit some jump shots early they may be able to drag Fowles out of the paint, where she is less effective as a defensive stopper.
Slow down Maya Moore without double-teaming
While the Lynx have five Olympians, Moore is the engine that drives their dominance. Unfortunately, the combined basketball IQ and playmaking ability of both her and the rest of her teammates means that double teaming her outside of the post is likely to be a losing strategy. Instead, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, LaToya Saunders and Tayler Hill will need to do everything they can to stop her.