Washington (7-4) at Minnesota (9-1)
When: Friday, June 23rd 2017
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St Paul, MN
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
Opening Odds: Minnesota -8.5/187
The Minnesota Lynx will look to bounce back from their first defeat when they host the Washington Mystics for the third time this season on Friday night. The Lynx reeled-off nine straight victories to start the season, but were upended by the Connecticut Sun at home on Saturday 98-93. Minnesota started last season 13-0, but lost three straight after that – something head coach Cheryl Reeve hopes to avoid this time around. “Any time you lose you have their attention a little bit more,” she told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We let some things slip here and there so we plugged a few holes this week. We cleaned some things up.” Minnesota is led by MVP-candidate Sylvia Fowles, who is second in the league in both scoring (20.9 points per game) and rebounding (9.8). The Lynx not only have the best record in the league, but are ranked No. 1 in both scoring offense (87.3) and defense (75.3). After playing just once in 12 days, the Lynx will have a quick turnaround as they host the winless San Antonio Stars on Sunday.
The Mystics were easily beat at home by Minnesota 98-73 on June 9th, but played the game without their MVP-candidate Elena Delle Donne. On Friday, Washington will have its star on the court but will be without its head coach, Mike Thibault, who, with assistant coach Eric Thibault, his son, will be in California for the funeral of his father, Frank Thibault. Assistant Marianne Stanley, the 2002 WNBA coach of the year with Washington, will coach the Mystics against Minnesota. The Mystics (7-4) are coming off an 87-83 home loss to Dallas in which they blew a 10-point halftime lead. Dallas ended the game with an 8-0 run over the final two minutes to upset the Mystics. Della Donne, the 2015 MVP, is averaging 20.4 points per game in her first year in Washington – which ranks fourth in the WNBA. The Mystics are currently tied with New York for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and will play at Chicago on Sunday.
The Lynx are the best team in the league by far, but Washington is very solid, especially with Delle Donne on the court. Minnesota struggled after losing their first game last year, but should pick up the ‘W’ here tonight, but 8.5 is too many points.
Pick: Mystics +8.5