Lynx face Fever with playoff seeding in mind

Sports

With three games remaining in their regular season, the Minnesota Lynx will aim to improve their WNBA playoff positioning starting Sunday against the Indiana Fever in Minneapolis.

This is the second of three straight meetings between the Lynx (19-10) and the last-place Fever (6-22). Minnesota cruised to an 89-72 win over Indiana on Friday, its sixth victory in seven games.

The current winning stretch has the Lynx locked into a postseason berth no worse than the No. 5 seed. They headed into the weekend tied with red-hot Phoenix, winner of 10 straight, with the Mercury facing the first-place Connecticut Sun on Saturday without Diana Taurasi (ankle).

Just a half-game separates the Lynx from third-place Seattle and Minnesota is only two games behind second-place Las Vegas.

The Lynx finish with Sunday’s game against Indiana, a return trip to Indianapolis on Friday, and close next Sunday against a Washington team fighting for the last spot in the playoffs.

Minnesota heads into this final stretch with added depth to an already balanced roster thanks to Aerial Powers’ return late last month from thumb surgery.

“Someone who can get into the paint, the ability to rise up over people, to take contact, get to the free throw line,” said Lynx guard Kayla McBride after Powers scored 20 points on Friday. “She opens things up for us.”

Powers was one of four Lynx to score in double figures along with McBride (15 points), Sylvia Fowles (13) and reserve Natalie Achonwa (10).

Minnesota has five players averaging in double figures on the season, led by Fowles and Napheesa Collier at 16.0 points per game. Layshia Clarendon, averaging 10.5 points per game, missed the last five games due to a right tibia stress reaction.

Slumping Indiana, a loser in three straight and four of its last five, aims to finish strong in its final four-game stretch.

Jantel Lavender, who returned from a knee injury on Aug. 28, played her best statistical game of 2021 with a season-high 15 points and nine rebounds in Friday’s loss to the Lynx.

“(I) definitely felt more like myself; it’s been a rough season coming off injury,” Lavender said. “Wherever the coach needs me to play, I’m just trying to fill in and make the game easier.”

–Field Level Media

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