All tipoffs ET.
The Lynx won both meetings in a back-to-back, home-and-home series -- three months ago. Minnesota won at home, 96-85, on July 17. Angel McCoughtry scored a game-high 27 points; Erica de Souza chipped in 18, Iziane Castro Marques had 12 and Shalee Lehning 11 for Atlanta, which shot 44 percent but made just 4 of 11 3-pointers. Four Lynx players also hit double figures: Seimone Augustus (25 points), Rebekkah Brunson (18), Lindsay Whalen (16) and Maya Moore (13). Minnesota shot 52 percent but was 1-for-10 from downtown; Atlanta won the rebounding battle 36-33. Two days later, as Minnesota improved to 6-1 and Atlanta dropped to 1-5, the same four Lynx players reached double-digits, and Minnesota outrebounded the Dream 51-38, in a 77-64 victory in Atlanta. McCoughtry was held to 10 points on 2-for-13 shooting; de Souza, Coco Miller and Lindsey Harding each scored 10 or more points. The Dream made just 21 of 70 field goals (30 percent) and 2 of 18 3-point attempts.
Atlanta won all four regular-season games against the East's top seed, including a Sept. 11 matchup in which Tamika Catchings sat out with a knee injury. The Dream's four victories came by a combined 23 points; Indiana actually shot better than 50 percent in two of the losses. Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry averaged 23.3 points in the series. In the Sept. 11 game, she scored 32 points; Indiana's Katie Douglas had 30.
The Lynx went 3-2 against the Mercury this season. They opened the series each winning on the opponents' home floor, then held court the next two meetings. Minnesota won in Phoenix in the fifth meeting, on Sept. 11. However, Phoenix's Penny Taylor sat out and Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen played limited minutes (with no points). Diana Taurasi averaged 23.2 points against the Lynx in the regular season; Seimone Augustus averaged 21.8. Still, look for a three-pronged attack from both squads, with Penny Taylor (16.5 ppg vs. the Lynx) and Candice Dupree complementing Taurasi, and Maya Moore (18.8 ppg vs. the Mercury) and Lindsay Whalen surrounding Augustus.
The Lynx went 4-0 against the Silver Stars in the regular season, including back-to-back victories in a three-day period as recently as Aug. 26-28. But their earlier two meetings were decided by just three points; Minnesota's average margin of victory was just 6.0 points. Lindsay Whalen's jump shot with 1.5 seconds left lifted the Lynx to a 70-69 victory July 31. Then Whalen's assist on Taj McWilliams-Franklin's shot with 1.3 seconds to play sealed Minnesota's 62-60 victory Aug. 4.
WEST: (2) SEATTLE STORM VS. (3) PHOENIX MERCURY
Seattle is 3-1 against Phoenix this season, including a victory Friday before the regular season wrapped up. The Storm won the first two matchups by a combined 13 points. The Mercury won 81-79 on Aug. 16, overcoming an 18-point halftime deficit. The win snapped Phoenix's nine-game losing streak to Seattle and marked the Mercury's second-biggest comeback in franchise history.
The Fever and Liberty split their regular-season series, with New York sandwiching its victories around Indiana's pair of wins. The Fever finished with the East's top seed, but New York scored an early 81-80 victory on Cappie Pondexter's winning shot with 8.1 seconds to play on June 10. Indiana exacted revenge the following day, an 86-80 win. Pondexter's 30 points weren't enough to offset 32 from Tamika Catchings in an Aug. 13 82-71 Fever win; five Liberty players hit double figures for an 83-75 victory Sept. 9.
The Sun and Dream split their regular-season series, each winning two games at home. Three of the games were decided by single digits; Atlanta beat Connecticut by 11 when the teams last met, on Sept. 6. Dream forward Angel McCoughtry, who ranks second in the league in scoring with 21.2 points, was the high scorer in all four meetings, averaging 29.8 ppg on 46 percent shooting, including performances of 36 points (July 31) and 35 points (Sept. 6).