Not there yet. In front of a large and excited Barclays Center crowd, the New York Liberty gave the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm a heck of a battle for much of the game. However, they didn't have enough offensive punch to bring it home and lost by 15 points on Sunday afternoon. The loss was their fifth in a row.
The opponent tonight will be the Minnesota Lynx. It's been a rocky year for the Lynx as injuries have derailed a possible championship run. They had won two straight blowouts before getting blown out themselves by the Washington Mystics on Sunday afternoon.
Where to follow the game
This one's on FOX Sports Go. Tip off after 7 PM.
Amanda Zahui B missed Sunday's game due to a concussion. No word on her status tonight. Asia Durr's groin injury caused her to miss Sunday's game as well. Her status for tonight is unknown as well.
Karima Christmas-Kelly is out for the season after injuring her knee. Kelsey Griffin is out for the year along with Jessica Shepherd, who tore her ACL in June. Damiris Dantas missed Sunday's game in DC with a calf injury. No word on her availability for this one. Maya Moore is out on leave this season. You can read more about her activism and advocacy work here.
New York took game one while the Lynx got game two.
Now that we're heading into the stretch run, the Lynx have received a big boost. Eight time All Star Seimone Augustus made her season debut last week after missing most of the season after while recovering from knee surgery. Coach Sheryl Reeve will have Augustus on a minutes limit, but anything she gives the team on the court will be a positive.
This one might get sloppy. Both teams are near the bottom of the W in turnover rate, but the Lynx hold something of an advantage as they're second best in the league at forcing opponent turnovers. The Lynx lead the league in points off turnovers while the Liberty allow the most points off of turnovers. Bad, bad mix there for Katie Smith's squad.
The front court battle should be a good one. Tina Charles had one of her best games of the season on Sunday afternoon as she scored 22 points on 10-16 from the field. Sunday was a continuation of a nice stretch of games in which her shot has come back to her. NY will need her to keep it going as she'll be matched up with Sylvia Fowles. The future Hall of Famer has put together another stellar season and is one of the league's best post scorers, as she's converted on 65 percent of her shots within five feet. If Zahui B is out again, the task of slowing Fowles down will become even more daunting.
Player to watch: Odyssey Sims
Outside of a DUI arrest in June, it's been an incredibly positive season for Sims. After some successful years with the Los Angeles Sparks, Sims came over to the Lynx in an offseason trade and has fit in nicely with her new teammates. She's had to change her role, but it led to her being named to the All Star Game for the first time in her career so it was worth it. Sims spoke about what head coach Sheryl Reeves and the Lynx coaching staff have done with her game with High Post Hoops' Derek James:
"Everyone that’s developed me since I got to Minnesota telling me ‘You gotta attack more,`’drive and kick,’ do this, do that.' I’m listening, and I’m learning, I’m still growing and for that to be something everybody emphasizes every time I come to work, it’s really helped me and shows up on the court.”
Sims is fifth in the league in assists, averaging 5.5 a night. If the Lynx can get healthy (or as close to healthy as possible), Sims' experience will come in handy.
With Durr probably out again, Tanisha Wright will figure to get the bulk of the minutes at the point. Like a lot of her teammates, Wright has been plagued by turnovers. This season, Wright has coughed it up a career high 30 percent of the time she's had the ball. When you're tasked with running an offense, you have to get the most out out of every possession. If you don't, the chances of your team coming away with wins decreases dramatically.
If you're like me and listened to Rick Ross' "Port of Miami 2," you've probably replayed "Summer Reign" with Summer Walker about 20 times already. R&B fans will immediately notice the song that was sampled on it, so for those of who don't know, let's get into it