After an already exciting start to the week on the men's side of hoops, come tomorrow, a historic match-up will take place yet again in California. This time, it's in LA. The 12-0 Minnesota Lynx face off against the 11-0 LA Sparks.
Minnesota and Los Angeles are off to the two best starts in WNBA history, and their matchup is the first in the WNBA, NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL between teams with 10 or more wins, no losses, and no ties.
"I think first of all, in this 20th season, celebrating how far the WNBA has gone, this is remarkable for two teams to be doing something like this. You know, Minnesota, they're playing very well. I think they're a team that is similar to us, and they match everybody on both ends of the floor," said Sparks forward, Nneka Ogwumike, in the pregame teleconference earlier today.
She further elaborated, "And that's something that coach focuses on with us, as well. We really pride ourselves on getting stops and being as aggressive as we can on defense. And that really fuels how we play on the offensive end. So I think the match-up will be tremendous."
Lynx forward, Maya Moore, also cited the impact of this game on the league as a whole:
"If you were to draw this scenario up, if you were writing sort of a sports fiction story or something, you know, the setting of what's going to happen tomorrow, it would be high up there as far as each second. It's built into this game tomorrow. It's just a really cool time to focus on it and celebrate the excellence that you're seeing on the court from both teams.
"However, it plays out, this coming up game, this week...it's going to be very impactful for our sport."
Though both teams head into this game with flawless records, Minnesota had the novelty of already making history this season by starting off 11-0. Either team could have garnered that honor, but the Lynx simply had the first shot at it, as their 11th game was June 14th, while the Sparks played game 11 on June 17th.
However, despite Los Angeles and Minnesota standing at the top of the Western Conference and beating teams by averages of 15.6 and 13.7 points, respectively, both squads play with a mindset that is anything but satisfied.
"The group that we have this year—we always want more, and we want to push each other more," commented Ogwumike."The one thing that I can definitely distinguish this year compared to others is our focus. It's incredibly narrow, and it's finite, and we don't look too far ahead. I think that's something that is really playing into our success
"There are times when people focus on a lot of external things, and I think that that's one thing we don't do. We stay in our own lane, we focus on LA, and most importantly, we have fun. And I think that kind of contributes to an overall ‘hunger' for this team. We want more, and we know we can do better, and coach pushes us to be."
Los Angeles head coach, Brian Agler, agreed with his star forward, pointing out that though the match-up is exciting, it's still early in the season: "We know we can't win a championship today, we won't win a championship tomorrow.
"We won't win a championship on Wednesday. But you can take a step forward each and every day, and that's sort of how we approach it, whether it's preparing for our opponent or practicing or whatever it might be."
And even though the two teams will go head-to-head again this week (Friday's game being in Minneapolis), Minnesota head coach, Cheryl Reeve, says her team isn't thinking about anything other than what's on the docket tomorrow.
"This is the biggest game of the season for the Minnesota Lynx ... simply because it's our next one. And that's what we're going to lock in on."
Tip-off is set for 3:30 EST at Staples Center in Los Angeles.