Minnesota Lynx Sweep Phoenix Mercury to Advance

One half of the 2016 WNBA finalists are known. The Minnesota Lynx advanced this weekend with a sweep of Phoenix.

The Minnesota Lynx are into the WNBA finals having completed a sweep of the Phoenix Mercury in the semifinals on Sunday. The Mercury enjoyed a nice run as the eight seed in the WNBA playoffs, however the pre-season favorites had little to compete with Minnesota. The Lynx advanced to the finals with their third straight double-digit victory on Sunday.

The final score in Sunday’s Game 3 was 82-67 for Minnesota. Forward Maya Moore was effective again as she scored 20 points in the series conclusion. Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, and Natasha Howard also scored in double digits. However, with only 62 points against, it really was a defensive effort that brought the series to a quick end.

At the start of the season, the duo of Diana Taurasi and Britney Griner was revered as one of the most dangerous tandems in the WNBA. However, neither had a game to remember in the Mercury’s season-ending game. Taurasi scored just 12 points on four of ten shooting while Griner only managed 9 points on four of seven. The supporting cast was ineffective in scoring as well as only DeWanna Bonner managed to get into double digits.

The game, besides marking the end of the Mercury’s season, also ended the WNBA playing career of Penny Taylor. The forward appeared in 355 WNBA games since starting her career in 2001. Although she averaged 12.5 points per game during her final season, the 35 year old went failed to connect from the floor in her swan song. Nonetheless, the Melbourne-born Aussie retires as a three-time WNBA champion and a two-time Olympic silver medalist from Athens and Beijing.

The Lynx now have the advantage of awaiting an opponent, something they’ve been doing for most of the playoffs. As the top seed, they rested while Phoenix battled hard just to make the semifinals. Perhaps that edge is what made the Phoenix/Minnesota series so easy for the Lynx to win.

In the other semifinal, two-seeded Los Angeles failed to sweep the Chicago Sky on Sunday, giving up a second-half lead. That forces a Game 4 on Tuesday, one that will be played in Chicago. Should the Sparks falter in that game, it would lead to a Game 5 back in Los Angeles that will end the series one way or another.

Meanwhile the Lynx, who are sitting very pretty at the moment, have to be hoping that the Sparks and Sky do go the distance and take a bite out of one another en route.

 

Shane Lambert