Wings hoping to end slump against Lynx

 

By Dorothy J. Gentry

 AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Last year, the Lynx and eventual league MVP Sylvia Fowles, well, let’s just say they owned the Wings, winning all three games in the season series.

But it’s a season, and the Wings plan to give it all they’ve got tonight when they take on the defending champs in Minnesota.

“We’re just going to come out the blocks – first leg; just going to go out and play our game without three of our key players,” Wings coach Fred Williams said after morning shootaround. “We’ll just put the pieces we do have together and play hard.”

The matchup – part of a nine-day, three-game road trip for the Wings - tips off at 8 p.m. ET. The Lynx are coming off their fourth championship in seven seasons. They lost to the Sparks on Sunday.

Against the Lynx

Wednesday night’s matchup will mark the 53rd meeting between the Wings and Lynx. Overall, the Lynx own the series, 39-13. In 2017 the Wings went 0-3 against the Lynx, losing two games at home and one in Minnesota. In the final meeting last season, Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 23 points in a 100-74 Minnesota win. Fowles led all scorers with 24 points and added 12 rebounds. In her team’s three wins against the Wings, she averaged 27 points and 11.3 rebounds.

Coach Williams hopes the offseason addition of Liz Cambage – an excellence rebounder and post scorer - helps to neutralize any damage Fowles has her sights on inflicting tonight.

“Sylvia is the MVP of the League. You have to always be prepared with her but we are solid all the way around the perimeter. We are hoping Liz can contain her at times,” Williams said.

Feisty but hobbled Wings

The Wings (1-1) are coming off a red-hot 101-78 home victory over the Dream. Five Wings’ players scored in double digits, including Diggins-Smith (25) and Cambage (21).

Only nine players were available in that game – the same as tonight as forward Glory Johnson deals with a hamstring injury (she is expected back in four weeks) and Aerial Powers and Theresa Plaisance continue their recovery from offseason injuries.

Williams said this morning that Kayla Thornton will again get the start in place of Johnson. Thornton started in Sunday’s game against the Dream and finished with 15 points.

“She’s been a true person whose been working hard and proving herself in this league. I feel comfortable with her at the four. She can drive, shoot, rebound. She’ll be great,” Williams said.

What to watch for

Tonight’s matchup between Cambage - whose dominant inside presence has been critical to the Wings – and Fowles should be exciting. The fast-paced play of guard Diggins-Smith and her well-known competitive spirit will be a force for the Lynx, who will have to find ways to slow her down.