With the way the Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty opened their seasons, the result of tonight’s matchup between them may have looked a lot more like a foregone conclusion last month than it does now.
After opening the season with two decisive home wins, the Lynx have been — at least by the scorelines since — struggling to hold teams off and stay in games. Their three- and two-point defeats of the Dallas Wings and the Phoenix Mercury, respectively, count just the same as any other wins. But lately, it still feels like there’s something missing.
Meanwhile, in their last game out, the Liberty were happy just to break a losing streak that dated back to last July. While Tina Charles remains the team’s shining star, it does feel like there’s something there, team-wise — it just depends on who shows up, which has been rather inconsistent (especially with so many players departing for overseas commitments).
If there’s one thing that can be gleaned from Minnesota’s season, though, it’s that the team knows how to come back from adversity. The Lynx started their season shorthanded, and with Jessica Shepard going down with a season-ending ACL injury in their last game, it’s only gotten worse since in that respect.
However, the team still owns a 4-2 record in spite of these losses. And its new players, like Napheesa Collier, Odyssey Sims and Lexie Brown, are showing their worth game after game. That type of grit is something the similarly shorthanded Liberty should look to emulate against the Lynx tonight.
With the confidence of having taken down a much-hyped Aces team, New York could take advantage of that momentum at home to grab a second straight win. But against the league’s second-place team, a loss wouldn’t be unsurprising.
Minnesota Lynx (4-2) vs. New York Liberty (1-4)
When: Wednesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Westchester County Center, White Plains, NY
How to watch: WNBA League Pass, YES Network (New York-area TV)
Keys to the matchup: Defense, defense, defense. The Liberty in particular haven’t really had scoring issues — they’re 4th in the league in points per game to the Lynx’s 10th. But both teams are more evenly matched when it comes to opponent field goal percentage, while the Liberty fall short by nearly 10 percent in opponent three-point percentage. In short, defending the three will be crucial to New York staying in this game.