The first winner-take-all game of the 2023 #WNBAPlayoffs is Wednesday night from the Twin Cities as the third-seeded Connecticut Sun visit the No. 6 Minnesota Lynx – because Minnesota stole one of the first two games on the road, it gets to host Game 3 but is 9-11 at home this year. The Sun are 5.5-point favorites for the 8 p.m. ET tip on #ESPN, but the SBIA Model’s top play is under the low total of 158 points. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Minnesota was about a 9-point underdog with a total of 159 for the first two games of the series in Uncasville. It sure looked like it would be a Connecticut sweep after it won the opener 90-60. The Sun made 16 of their 30 shots from behind the arc and held Minnesota to 35% shooting overall. Connecticut scored 30 points off 19 Lynx turnovers.
However, the Lynx turned the tide on Sunday with an 82-75 upset behind 28 points from Kayla McBride and 26 points and 13 rebounds from Napheesa Collier. They became the first pair of Lynx teammates to score at least 25 points apiece in a playoff game; both marks were also career playoff highs. Collier, Tiffany Mitchell and DeWanna Bonner all left Game 2 with injuries before returning to finish the game. None are listed on the injury report tonight for Minnesota.
"I want to leave it all out there on the court and do whatever I can for my team," said Collier, an MVP candidate in her first full season back after giving birth last spring. "It's such a special group of women that I'm playing with this year and so I want to give them my all and I expect the same from them and I think that's why we have such a great team."
The Sun hit just 7-for-20 from deep in Game 2. They are looking to advance to the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season after winning a team record 27-games during the regular season with first-year coach Stephanie White named Sunday as the WNBA’s Coach of the Year.
Connecticut faces its second first-round elimination game in two seasons as in 2022 it beat Dallas on the road in Game 3 of the first round en route to the WNBA Finals. The #ForgedByFire are 4-0 ATS after a loss this year but just 1-3-1 ATS in their past five road games.
Minnesota, which started the WNBA regular season at 0-6, is trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2020 and win its first postseason series since its 2017 title run. The Lynx are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 vs. teams with winning records.
"From 0-6 to 40 minutes from the semifinals," head coach Cheryl Reeve said. "What more could you ask for?"