Preview: Lynx and Sparks headline three-game Sunday slate

Indiana Fever v Minnesota Lynx Sylvia Fowles has been a go-to player for the Lynx, despite being the longest-tenured player on the team. | Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Lynx renew one of the WNBA’s biggest rivalries with the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday; Minnesota has won four straight games. The Las Vegas Aces have a big edge over the New York Liberty, who are coming off their season’s first win. The Washington Mystics and the Indiana Fever are both looking to break losing streaks.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks renew their rivalry for the first time in the 2020 season. The Lynx have won their last four games while the Sparks have alternated wins and losses through their first six games, having lost the last time they took the court.

The Lynx have been average on offense, but their hustle and defense makes them a formidable group. The Lynx lead the league in offensive rebounds, steals and opponent’s scoring. The Lynx’ interior defense, which allows the second fewest points in the paint, will be put to the test as the Sparks are third in scoring in the paint.

The Sparks are 1-3 against teams with a winning record, which points to the Sparks having problems with teams that are well-organized and consistent. The Sparks will need to play disciplined defense, as the Lynx shoot the fourth most free throws in the league. One area where the Sparks have an advantage is scoring off of turnovers. The Lynx average 16.5 turnovers, while the Sparks lead the league in capitalizing off of turnovers.

Las Vegas Aces vs. New York Liberty

The Aces have won their last three games thanks to great play from A’ja Wilson and Angel McCoughtry. The Liberty won their last game against the Washington Mystics after starting the season 0-5.

The Liberty are last in overall shooting percentage, 3-point shooting percentage and scoring. On defense, the Liberty allow the third-most points and generate the second-fewest turnovers of any team in the league. These statistical categories are just an indication of how far the Liberty have to go before they can be considered a contender.

While the Aces do not rely on the 3-point shot to be successful, Las Vegas is third in scoring and second in the league in overall shooting percentage. The Aces have the best three-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot 28.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Liberty are also the worst 3-point shooting team in the league, despite taking the most 3-point shots of any team in the league, all of which will play in to the Aces’ hands.

Washington Mystics vs. Indiana Fever

The Mystics and Fever meet for the second time as the 2019 WNBA Champions dominated the Fever in the season opener. The Mystics have lost their last three games while the Fever have lost two straight games.

The Mystics are middle of the road in the offensive and defensive shooting categories. The Fever are last in opponent’s field goal percentage and allow the most points in the paint. The Mystics are not a paint-oriented offense but have the players to take advantage of the Fever on this area of floor. The Fever will have to hope that their 3-point shooting is good enough to keep them in this game. The Fever’s defensive rating is the worst in the league which means the Mystics, on paper, have quite the advantage headed into this game.


Game Information

All games will be played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

Minnesota Lynx vs. Los Angeles Sparks

When: Sunday, August 9 at 3 p.m. ET

How to watch: ESPN

Key to the matchup: Sylvia Fowles and Candice Parker average double-doubles for their respective teams. Although they may not be matched up, the performances of Fowles and Parker will be integral to their respective teams winning. Fowles returned from injury on Friday to score 21 points. With Nneka Ogwumike dealing with an injury, Parker’s play will be even more important.

Lynx injury report: Sylvia Fowles (probable, right calf); Shenise Johnson (out, right hamstring); Odyssey Sims (out, two-game suspension).

Sparks injury report: Seimone Augustus (probable, rest/load management); Nneka Ogwumike (questionable, hamstring).

Highlights: Sylvia Fowles’ performance against the Fever

Las Vegas Aces vs. New York Liberty

When: Sunday, August 9 at 5 p.m. ET

How to watch: YES, WNBA League Pass

Key to the matchup: The Liberty made 12 3-point shots in their win over the Mystics and their ability to make 3-point shots will heavily influence their ability to win games going forward. For the Aces, the scoring combination of Angel McCoughtry and A’ja Wilson will likely point to success or failure in this one.

Liberty injury report: Sabrina Ionescu (out, sprained ankle).

Highlights: A’ja Wilson’s double-double in Aces’ win over the Sparks

Washington Mystics vs. Indiana Fever

When: Sunday, August 9 at 7 p.m. ET

How to watch: ESPN2

Key to the matchup: Emma Meesseman and Myisha Hines-Allen should be able to put up big numbers against the Fever, who are decidedly lacking in paint defense. For the Fever, Kelsey Mitchell will need to be on top of her game and improved from the Fever’s last two games. Mitchell has shot a combined 4-of-19 from beyond the arc during the Fever last two losses.

Mystics injury report: Aerial Powers (questionable, hip).

Fever injury report: Natalie Achonwa (out, hamstring); Stephanie Mavunga (out, facial injury); Victoria Vivians (probable, knee) Erica Wheeler (out, WNBA Medical Protocol).

Highlights: Myisha Hines-Allen’s work in the post against the Liberty