WNBA Western Conference Finals preview: Mercury-Lynx tips off tonight


On paper, this 2013 WNBA Western Conference Finals is the Minnesota's to lose.

They've reached the WNBA Finals each of the last two years, they've beaten their opponent, the Phoenix Mercury, all five times the two teams have met this season, and the Lynx feature three All-WNBA performers to Phoenix' one.

Fortunately for the Mercury, these games are played on hardwood, not paper, and a significant amount has changed since these two teams last met.


For the Mercury it starts at the top, with former University of Arizona Head Coach Russ Pennell as the man leading the Mercury in to battle, his first time facing the Lynx as Mercury head coach since he replaced five-year veteran of the same post Corey Gaines, who was dismissed on August 9.

The Mercury are 9-4 under Pennell.

It will also benefit Phoenix to have their two best players, Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, available against the Lynx, a luxury they did not have the last time these two teams met, an 81-69 Lynx win. Taurasi was serving a suspension after passing the league maximum for technicals fouls in a season, and Griner, who also missed the two teams fourth matchup of the year three days prior, was nursing a left knee sprain.

Pennell preaches a defense-first attitude, one the Mercury badly need after giving up a league-worst 80.3 points per game. Since Pennell took over, Phoenix has surrendered that amount or more just seven of their 13 games under the new head man.

Minnesota has faced far fewer issues than Phoenix this year, with a consistently strong coach at the helm in Cheryl Reeves, a confident and productive veteran point guard in Lindsey Whalen, and a MVP runner-up in Maya Moore.

In their five matchups, Minnesota has beaten Phoenix by an average of 16 points per game, and if there is one nightmare matchup for the Mercury's shoddy D, it's Minnesota's best-in-the-league O.


ESPN has five things to watch in the series that starts at 8 p.m. tonight from Target Center. They also have a by-the-numbers series preview.

MinnPost has us assured that Moore is as focused as ever on the task at hand despite occasional distractions.

Fox Sports North reminds us of the Lynx dominance, reiterating that the squad hasn't lost to Phoenix in over two years.

And Vegas Insider says it simply, but perhaps most effectively, setting the Lynx as a nine-point favorite.


In the end, it comes from many Minnesota sports fans, whether they say it with depression because all the other hometown teams are so terrible, or with exuberance that this franchise is so consistent. However they say it, we think it's the highest possible compliment you can give a team when you say: Hey, at least we still have the Lynx.

Next Up

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.


Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 11.00.30 AM

Money Gal Coaching: Habits of a millionaire, just in time for the holidays?

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

Mayo Belle Plaine

Mayo temporarily closes 5 clinics in southern MN amid COVID surge

The Mayo is reallocating staff to other sites as it deals with the COVID outbreak.

soda pop

MDH finds 'troubling' trend in how many sugary drinks students are consuming

Nearly half of students have a sugary drink a day. Health officials recommend limiting it to one per week or fewer.