While the Phoenix Mercury get re-accustomed to playing with their superstar back on the floor, one of the Minnesota Lynx's best players is on the verge of a WNBA milestone.
Both teams, however, look to bounce back from defeat when Diana Taurasi and the Mercury visit Sylvia Fowles' Lynx on Sunday night.
Taurasi played 16 minutes and scored all five of her points from the free-throw line Friday night at Connecticut in her 2019 debut after recovering from a back issue. Though Taurasi should add a boost to the Mercury cause, that was not the case as they went 2 of 16 from 3-point range and were outrebounded 45-26 in falling 79-64 to the Sun.
"It's just her leadership out there," Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello told the ESPN broadcast, about having Taurasi back in the mix. "(Taurasi's) going to get better and better the more she plays."
DeWanna Bonner (18.9 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game) had 20 points with eight rebounds, but Brittney Griner (19.3 ppg) was held to 10 points for Phoenix (7-7). Bonner scored 25, but Griner had just four in a 58-56 loss at Minnesota on June 6.
The Lynx (9-7) led by as many as 16 in the that contest last month, but nearly gave it all away as Phoenix outscored them 20-9 in the final quarter. Odyssey Sims (15.8 ppg) led Minnesota with 15 points while Fowles scored 10 with seven boards.
Though Fowles did not have a double-double in that meeting, she finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds Friday at Atlanta to tie Lisa Leslie's league record of 157 career double-doubles. There's a good chance Fowles will break that mark in front of her home fans on Sunday, as the Lynx try to get back on track after a 60-53 loss to the Dream that snapped their three-game winning streak.
Then again, that's probably not priority No. 1 for Fowles.
"I'm like, alright, let me not pay attention to (milestones) too much because you don't want to go out there and start trying to break these records," Fowles, averaging 14.2 points and 9.9 boards in her 12th WNBA season, told the Lynx's official website earlier this season.
Minnesota hasn't lost two in a row since its season-high four-game slide from June 8-16. The Lynx have also won three straight over the Mercury, who last dropped two consecutive contests during a three-game slide from June 11-20.