The Minnesota Lynx will open their postseason Sunday with a one-game playoff to determine whether or not they’ll advance to the WNBA semifinals.
That game will be played at Target Center at 4 p.m. The Lynx will be there. Which other team will join them will be known after Thursday night’s first-round contests.
Minnesota will face Chicago, Dallas or New York, depending on who advances Thursday. If the Liberty upset Phoenix, New York will head to Minnesota. If Phoenix beats New York, then the winner of the Dallas-Chicago first-round game will be Twin Cities-bound.
Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said there will be no “rooting” interests Thursday as she watches the games play out.
“We’re still kind of going through an audit of ourselves, making sure these couple days we’re locked in on ourselves improving and knowing what our identity is,” Reeve said. “And then you just shift onto ‘What’s the card that’s been laid? Let’s look at it, and let’s play.’“
Here is a look at Minnesota’s three prospective opponents:
No. 6 seed
Offensive rating: 100.9 points per 100 possessions (7th in WNBA)
Defensive rating: 99.4 (6th)
Lynx’s record against the Sky: 1-1
The skinny: Certainly the best team Minnesota could potentially face in the quarterfinals. The Lynx were still finding themselves as a team when Chicago came into Target Center and won in June. Chicago’s guard combo of Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley gave the Lynx fits in both matchups. Chicago is a scary opponent in a one-and-done situation
No. 7 seed
Offensive rating: 102.2 (6th)
Defensive rating: 103 (8th)
Lynx’s record against the Wings: 2-1
The skinny: It was a June loss in Dallas that really seemed to spark Minnesota’s second-half surge, so a playoff matchup would be poetic. The Wings, who are led by former Notre Dame star Arike Ogunbowale, have been up-and-down all season. Kayla McBride may welcome another matchup with Dallas. In the Lynx’s two victories over the Wings this season, the guard averaged 23.5 points.
No. 8 seed
Offensive rating: 96.1 (10th)
Defensive rating: 104.3 (10th)
Lynx’s record against the Liberty: 2-1
The skinny: Minnesota’s loss to New York in the second game of the season was when some outsiders started to wonder whether lofty preseason expectations for the Lynx were warranted. The rest of the season revealed otherwise. The Liberty can thank Minnesota for even being in the playoffs — they needed the Lynx to beat Washington, along with Dallas beating the Sparks — just to reach the postseason.
Perhaps New York is a team of destiny? Not likely. Sylvia Fowles dominated the glass in the first two meetings between these two teams in 2021, then the Lynx beat New York at Target Center in the third meeting, which Fowles missed with a shoulder injury.