For the second time in as many days, two 1-0 teams will face off to grab an early jump in the standings. Tonight, it’s the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx, both of whom won decisively on Saturday.
The Storm come into this matchup still navigating life without its go-to stars, but with the confidence of a win over a veteran-led Mercury team. Led by Natasha Howard, four Seattle players scored in double figures, including point guard-slash-Sue Bird protégé Jordin Canada, who finished with a career-high 16 points. Though neither team was technically at full strength, collecting wins despite who you’re missing or who your opponent is missing seems to be the name of the game this season. At the end of the day, they’re still wins.
Meanwhile, the Lynx had perhaps a less challenging opening game, and their rookies stole the show. Between a historic scoring output by Napheesa Collier and a strong defensive effort by Jessica Shepard, Minnesota hardly missed Seimone Augustus (who will also miss tonight’s game) and Karima Christmas-Kelly (who is questionable to return tonight).
This Wednesday night matchup will say a lot about both of these teams, from how their younger players perform (or don’t) to how they compensate for notable absences. While Christmas-Kelly, for example, has yet to suit up for the Lynx in any regular-season game, Alysha Clark’s continued unavailability (she’ll be resting again tonight) could start to take a toll as the Storm enters its second game.
Or ... maybe it won’t.
Maybe the Storm’s opening-game performance wasn’t a fluke, and maybe it will continue against another veteran-led team. Or maybe the Lynx’s first true challenge of the season will end up in its favor anyway, because they’re a sleeper pick to resume championship success.
It’s the second game of the season. Even with two strong teams, all we can really do at this point is wait and see how a monster of an offseason plays out where it counts: on the court.
Seattle Storm vs. Minnesota Lynx
When: Wednesday, May 29, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
How to watch: CBS Sports Network (national TV), FOX Sports GO (paid streaming)
Keys to the matchup: Can early star power continue? Saturday saw career-highs (or career-high-type play) from Natasha Howard, Jordin Canada, Napheesa Collier and Jessica Shepard. For the Storm, that means consistency — or better — is expected from starters Howard and Canada, and faltering now won’t instill much confidence moving forward. For the Lynx, it’s about recognizing that Collier and Shepard, while both ultra-talented rookies, are still adjusting to the WNBA. Sylvia Fowles had a typically solid game, and that should continue, but how will Minnesota fare if either (or both) of their rookie standouts fail to perform?