8:00 PM ET, June 1, 2013
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Whether the WNBA had specific plans or the scheduling is just a mere coincidence, the league very well may have saved the best for last.The Minnesota Lynx become the final team to make its season debut as they begin their quest for a third straight WNBA finals appearance by hosting the Connecticut Sun on Saturday night.Minnesota went 27-7 for the second straight season and finished atop the Western Conference in 2012. The club was led by Seimone Augustus (16.6 points per game) and Maya Moore (16.4), who make up one of the league's top duos.The Lynx won the franchise's first championship in 2011 but fell in four games to Indiana in last year's finals. Coach Cheryl Reeve believes they could be even more dangerous this season due to a rule change that extended the 3-point line more than a foot to the international distance of 22 feet, 1 and 3/4 inches."I like the spacing, especially with our ability to penetrate," Reeve told the team's official website. "We're running all the high pick stuff and we have players who can turn the corner and really suck the defense in. If you don't come we're going to go score a layup and if you do, then we've got players who can space the floor, so I like what I've seen there."The Lynx scrimmaged an all-male team featuring some former college players Wednesday and won 83-81. Reeve went with a starting five of Augustus, Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Janel McCarville that likely will begin Saturday's opener."I told the team (Wednesday) was the official end of training camp," Reeve said. "We will take the day off (Thursday) and our official season will start Friday."Moore said the scrimmage was key for Minnesota to face different competition. The team doesn't play its second game until going up against Brittney Griner and Phoenix on Thursday."I think it's very important," Moore said. "You practice so much, you want to get games and game situations in. You have to get the mental and physical rhythm of a game and play someone other than your teammates."The Sun (1-1) have experienced a good amount of game action and could take advantage of a Minnesota team that may not be in game shape.Connecticut, though, is coming off an 86-75 loss to Chicago on Friday after beating New York 81-69 in its opener last Saturday.Allison Hightower scored a career high-tying 20 points, reigning MVP Tina Charles posted another double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Kara Lawson added 11 points after finishing with 23 against the Liberty.The Sun were outrebounded 46-32 on Friday."When you're on the road it's really important that you get off to the right start defensively, and I don't think we did that," coach Anne Donovan said.Minnesota and Connecticut have split the two-game season series each of the last four years. Augustus scored 23 and Charles finished with 20 points and 12 boards in the Lynx's 85-72 win June 1 before Charles had 19 points and 15 rebounds in an 86-80 victory July 7.