On Saturday night, the Minnesota Lynx host the Los Angeles Sparks. Both are coming off of losses. The Lynx and the Sparks have gotten off to slow starts, as they both hover around .500.
Prior to the Lynx/Sparks game, the teams at the bottom of the standings table, the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever, will meet for the second time this week. The Sky won the first meeting 92-76.
The Lynx and Sparks have proven to be quite inconsistent this season. The Lynx are attempting to inch closer to an even record while the Sparks look to go above .500 for just the second time season.
Despite missing the team’s first three games, Napheesa Collier has been playing extremely well and leads the Lynx with 17.4 points. Veteran center Sylvia Fowles has been up to her usual standard, averaging 17 points and 6.9 rebounds while newcomer Kayla McBride is scoring 12.9 points and leads the team in 3-point percentage at 37.5.
Erica Wheeler is scoring 10.8 points but has been quite inconsistent as she has scored in the single digits in half of her games this season. Amanda Zahui B. has started the Sparks’ last three games in place of Nneka Ogumike and has been serviceable, averaging 9.6 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams are in the bottom half of the league in terms of offensive production, so do not be surprised if this game is a low-scoring affair. However, the Sparks’ advantage, at least on paper, comes from their defense. Los Angeles boasts the third-best defensive rating in the league, which could serve them well as they attempt to earn their first victory in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Nowhere to go but up
The Chicago Sky travel to face the Indiana Fever, as the two teams sitting 11th and 12th in the WNBA standings face each other for the second time in four days. The Sky won the first game easily, 92-76.
Despite being four games under .500, the Sky have played like a .500 team with a Net Rating of -0.4. Meanwhile, the last place Fever have by far and away the worst Net Rating of -18.8. Defense continues to the Achilles heal of the Fever, as they are allowing a league-worst 89.8 points per contest.
The Sky’s big offseason acquisition, Candace Parker, made her come back from an ankle injury in the Sky’s last game against the Fever. However, Parker was 1-of-9 with three points in 18 minutes of play. Parker will likely look to get herself going in just her third appearance for Chicago this season.
Kahleah Copper leads the Sky with 14.2 points per game while Diamond DeShields and Courtney Vandersloot average 12.8 and 12.2, respectively. For Indiana, Kelsey Mitchell is the top scorer with 15 points per game. Tiffany Mitchell averages 10.8 points while Teaira McCowan averages 10.5.
Indiana Fever (1-10) vs. Chicago Sky (3-7)
When: Sunday, June 13 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis, IN
How to watch: Amazon Prime, fever.wnba.com, CW 26
Key to the matchup: Candace Parker is back and will be looking to get the Sky headed back in the right direction. The Fever do not seem to have made any progression in the defense department and will likely need big games from Kelsey Mitchell and Tiffany Mitchell in order to keep up on the scoreboard.
Fever injury report: Bernadett Hatar (out; ankle), Aaliyah Wilson (out; foot)
Sky injury report: none
Minnesota Lynx (3-5) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (4-4)
When: Sunday, June 13 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
How to watch: Bally Sports North, NBA TV Canada, WNBA League Pass
Key to the matchup: Collier and Fowles will put a lot of pressure on the interior defense of the Sparks. One player to watch is the Sparks’ Kristi Toliver. She has failed to reach double figure scoring in five of eight games.
Sparks injury report: Nneka Ogwumike (out; knee), Chiney Ogwumike (out; knee); Jasmine Walker (out for season; knee)
Lynx injury report: Rennia Davis (out; foot), Aerial Powers (probable; hamstring), Jessica Shepard (out indefinitely; adductor)