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Game 3 Preview: It’s do or die for the Connecticut Sun and Minnesota Lynx

Which dynamic duo will play a bigger role: the Sun’s Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner or the Lynx’s Napheesa Collier and Kayla McBride? Whichever pairing plays best likely will determine if No. 3 seed Connecticut or No. 6 seed Minnesota advances to the semifinals.

WNBA: SEP 17 Playoffs First Round Minnesota Lynx at Connecticut Sun
The Sun’s Alyssa Thomas attempts to strip the ball from the Lynx’s Napheesa Collier.
Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

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.

Final thoughts

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.

Game information

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)