The Minnesota Lynx appear to be playing their best basketball of the season when it matters most. Now, they'll try to keep it up while on the road.
Looking to turn things around away from home during the final weekend of the regular season, the Lynx aim to extend their season-high winning streak to five games Friday night against the Phoenix Mercury.
Minnesota (17-15) is headed to the postseason and could be looking at a first-round home game with a strong finish this weekend against Phoenix and at Los Angeles on Sunday. The Lynx knocked off Indiana 81-73 last Sunday to conclude a 4-0 homestand and build some momentum heading into the playoffs, where unlike in recent years, they are not expected to make a deep run.
Then again, it's probably not wise to bet against a Cheryl Reeve-coached team that appears to have found its rhythm.
"You're seeing signs of maturity that maybe if this was a month ago, what would have happened?" Reeves told the Lynx's official website. "I can't say for sure that we won't revert back, but I think this team knows so much about who they are - the good, the bad, the ugly. You can feel the ugly coming on, hopefully they understand how to avoid it. Hopefully, we're hard to play against."
Rookie of the year contender Napheesa Collier (12.9 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game) has been part of the good. She had 15 points with 10 rebounds against the Fever, and has averaged 19 points in the last four games. Collier joins Tamika Catchings as the only rookies in WNBA history to post at least 400 points and 200 rebounds to go along with 60 or more steals.
She had 14 points, 11 boards and three steals during a 75-63 home win over Phoenix on July 14.
"The first day she stepped in here, she put in work," Lynx veteran and WNBA great Seimone Augustus said of Collier. "She knows where she needs to get better. She knows how to put in the work to get better, and that's something you admire from a rookie."
The Lynx have also looked good while taking the first two 2019 meetings with the Mercury (15-17). However, their 6-9 road mark would qualify as bad and they've dropped their last two away from home by a combined 18 points.
Playoff-bound Phoenix will try to avoid a third consecutive defeat after falling to Chicago and Seattle by a combined 39 points. Brittney Griner, who scored 22 in the 82-70 home loss to the Storm on Tuesday, continues to be the most consistent Mercury performer.
She's averaged 26 points in the last six games. However, Griner has totaled 16 points in the two games versus Minnesota this season.