Still winless on the season, the San Antonio Stars head up north for a game against the Minnesota Lynx. Record-wise, the Lynx are the best team in the WNBA, while the Stars sit in last place. These teams have met once before this season, with the Lynx coming out victorious. Minnesota (10-1) is coming off a 93-76 win against the Washington Mystics, and the Stars (0-13) are looking to bounce back from an 81-69 loss to the Dallas Wings. Here are three things to watch.
Can the Stars play better defense?
When these teams played May 28, Minnesota used a balanced scoring attack to win. Five players scored in double figures, with Sylvia Fowles leading the way with 14 points.
At times, defense has been an issue for the Stars this season. Minnesota has five capable scorers in their starting lineup, and has a bench of veteran players on the bench that can contribute as well. With that being said, the Stars are going to have to work hard to prevent easy scoring opportunities, especially in the paint. Fowles is averaging a team-high of 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, so limiting her will be vital for the Stars’ chances.
Then, there is Maya Moore.
Moore is averaging 15,5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. While she has is only shooting 38 percent from the field this season, her ability to have a solid all-around game still makes her dangerous. Therefore, it will be just as important to prevent her from getting into a rhythm early on.
Can the Stars play well for 40 minutes?
One of San Antonio’s biggest issues has been slow starts after halftime or in the fourth quarter. Many of the losses were because of a poor showing in the final quarter, allowing opponents to ultimately pull away and win. Quite simply, Minnesota has too much talent across the board for the Stars to have slow starts for extended periods. In the last meeting, the Lynx only held a five-point lead at halftime. However, the Stars managed to score only eight points in the third quarter, while the Lynx scored 26. The discrepancy in the third quarter pretty much put the game out of reach, despite the Stars outscoring the Lynx 23-14 in the fourth.
This time, the Silver and Black will need a strong effort in each frame to keep up with the Lynx’s scoring prowess.
Who will step up offensively?
Another one of San Antonio’s issues has been inconsistent scoring. Usually one or two players do most of the heavy lifting offensively, without much help from the rest of the lineup. With all the firepower Minnesota possesses, the Stars will need many players to counter the attack. Moriah Jefferson and Monique Currie have had big games on the offensive end recently, and will need to bring an attacking mindset into this game. Additionally, Dearica Hamby and Kayla Alexander typically provide solid contributions off the bench. In the last meeting, Alexander added 14 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Tip-off for the game is set for 6:00 p.m. CT from the Xcel Energy Center.