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Lynx vs. Stars series preview: Key statistics, prediction, TV schedule

While the Minnesota Lynx are looking to defend their championship, the San Antonio Stars look to keep Becky Hammon's career going by advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

Photo by Getty Images.

The #2 Minnesota Lynx will face the #3 San Antonio Stars in Game 1 of the first round of the 2014 WNBA Playoffs tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

While both of these teams play a beautiful brand of basketball, the difference in the series might come down to the Lynx having the MVP but also defense.

Key statistical battleground: Turnover rate

These two teams are two of the least turnover prone teams in league history, which is probably more relevant for the Stars than it is for the Lynx.

The Stars are far more reliant on three point shooting and ball movement to win games. The Lynx aren't exactly a team that will force a lot of turnovers this season, which could benefit the Stars. The problem is on the other end for the Stars.

The Stars do force more turnovers than average, which could serve to disrupt the Lynx's high-powered offense - in their 92-76 win, the Stars had just 7 turnovers to the Lynx's 14. Seimone Augustus was out in that game and Monica Wright had three turnovers as the Lynx largely ran the same sets, but it has to be a confidence boost for the Stars. The problem is everywhere else: the Stars had the lowest defensive rating of any playoff qualifier this season.

With Augustus in the lineup, if this turns into a relatively fluid game with few (or even) turnovers and great execution, the Lynx are almost certain to win with players who can single-handedly take over games in Augustus and  MVP Maya Moore.

X-Factor: Rebekkah Brunson

Brunson has had a sub-par year this season after missing 23 games due to injury. But her rebounding prowess could make a big difference in a series between two teams that haven't been particularly good on the boards this season. The last thing a Lynx opponent needs is someone cleaning up the misses they do shoot with offensive rebounds.

Predictions: Lynx def. Stars

Name

Winner

Games

Albert

Minnesota

2

James

Minnesota

2

Kris H.

Minnesota

3

Kris W.

Minnesota

2

Nate

Minnesota

3

Pat

Minnesota

3

The only debate here is whether this will go two or three games. On the one hand, the Stars' defensive deficiencies and the Lynx's offensive prowess certainly lends itself to a sweep. On the other hand, Game 2 could be Becky Hammon's last game in San Antonio - a bit of emotion and hot shooting (aided by the court spacing provided by Danielle Adams) could push this thing to three games.

Schedule/Broadcast info

Day

Date

Game

Away

Home

Time

National TV

Thursday

08/21/14

1

#3 San Antonio Stars

#2 Minnesota Lynx

9 p.m.

ESPN2

Saturday

08/23/14

2

#2 Minnesota Lynx

#3 San Antonio Stars

7 p.m.

ESPN2

Monday

08/25/14

3*

#3 San Antonio Stars

#2 Minnesota Lynx

TBD

NBA TV

For more on this series, check out our Lynx vs. Stars storystream.