The first-round series between the No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun and the No. 6 seed Minnesota Lynx has come down to the wire. One game remains to determine who will take on the New York Liberty in the semifinals. Game 3 tips off at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN).
In Game 1, the Sun soundly defeated the Lynx by 30 points, while Lynx were able to hold on 82-75 in Game 2. Now, the series will come to a close in Minneapolis and two questions remain to be answered:
- Will the Sun come through as expected to reach the semifinals for the fourth-consecutive year?
- Or, can the Lynx pull off the upset before their home crowd?
Either way it will be incumbent on a pair of dynamic duos to lead the charge.
The Sun’s Thomas-Bonner tandem
For the Sun, they have the soon-to-be-married tandem of DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas. Both have been ubiquitous in the series’ first two games, doing a little bit of everything.
Bonner has been on a tear, averaging 20.5 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game. Thomas also averaging is 20.5 points per game, while adding eight assists and 5.5 boards. In Game 1, both notched a double-double, with Bonner scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, while also dishing out 6 assists. Thomas scored 15 points and passed out 10 assists. In Game 2, they again put up considerable numbers, combining for 50 points. Bonner had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Thomas had 24 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Game 1 goes to the Sun‼— WNBA (@WNBA) September 14, 2023
The @connecticutsun get the 30-PT dub over the Minnesota Lynx behind monster performances from Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner!
2023 #WNBAPlayoffs | @google pic.twitter.com/gwJJjg2LyN
Beyond the fact that they are soon to be spouses, they play well with each other. If they can continue to lead by example, play with flexibility and versatility and get some much needed contributions from the likes of Rebecca Allen and Ty Harris, then the Sun can come through with the series clincher.
The Lynx’s Phee-KMac duo
The Lynx have their own effective pair in Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride. Collier is averaging 20 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while McBride has contributed 22 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Game 2 largely was defined by McBride’s offensive excellence. She scored 28 points and was lights out from the 3-point line, going 6-for-11. Collier came away with 26 points and 13 rebounds in Game 2.
Napheesa Collier delivers an all-timer on the road with a bad back and the Lynx season on the line:— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) September 17, 2023
✅ Playoff-career-high 26 points
✅ 12/24 FG
✅ 13 rebounds
✅ 2 assists
✅ 2 steals
✅ 1 block
✅ Game-high +11 in 38 MP
At this point, it is hard to say who will come out on top, but the chances of the Sun pulling it off is slightly greater given that they have more depth and their top players have the ability to utilize multiple assets. But, the Lynx will be hosting the series finale on their home floor.
Regardless, it should be an exciting finish to first-round play before the action really starts to heat up.
No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun (1-1) vs. No. 6 seed Minnesota Lynx (1-1)
When: Wednesday, Sep. 20 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Target Center in Minneapolis, MN
How to watch: ESPN
Sun injury report: Brionna Jones (out; Achilles)
Lynx injury report: Lindsay Allen (out; thumb), Jessica Shepard (out; ankle), Natalie Achonwa (out; maternity leave)