The San Antonio Stars are back in the 2014 WNBA Playoffs after missing out in 2013 due to multiple injuries to several key players. The silver and black will face the Minnesota Lynx in the Western Conference Semifinals, a rematch from the 2011 series that saw Minnesota defeat San Antonio in three games.
Despite the Lynx winning the season series 4-1 over the Stars, you cannot read too much into regular season games. Much like the NBA, the WNBA also has injuries and scheduling that can factor into wins and losses during the season. Below I broke down the five games between the two teams:
Game #1: Stars at Lynx – May 30 (L – 88-72)
Coming into the first of five meetings between the two teams the Stars had a day off after beating Tulsa 82-79, while Minnesota had three days to rest. Rebekkah Brunson and Monica Wright sat out for the Lynx as they both recovered from knee surgery. Shenise Johnson (hamstring) was sidelined for the Stars.
After keeping pace with the Lynx for the first half, Minnesota used a 33-10 third quarter to pull away for a 88-72 win. Maya Moore led the Lynx with 26 points as they shot 50 percent for game. Jia Perkins led San Antonio off the bench with 15 points as no starter scored in double figures.
Game #2: Lynx at Stars – June 1 (L 87-79)
Just two days later the Stars got another shot at the Lynx. Once again Johnson missed the game for San Antonio, while Brunson and Wright sat out for Minnesota. This time a poor second quarter would doom the Stars, with the Lynx outscoring the good girls 24-17. Seimone Augustus led the visitors with 25 points and Maya Moore added 16 as Minnesota shot 52 percent. Jia Perkins posted 16 points in the loss.
Game #3: Stars at Lynx – July 3 (L 91-84)
Minnesota had three days rest coming into this game, while San Antonio had just one. Jia Perkins would miss the game with a hamstring injury for the Stars and the Lynx were without Seimone Augustus who sat out with knee bursitis and Brunson once again. Wright returned for Minnesota and scored 17 points, but Maya Moore led the way for the Lynx with 21. Kayla McBride led the Stars with 17 points and Danielle Robinson added 13.
The story of the game was turnovers as the Stars committed 12 to Minnesota’s seven. The Lynx also had the advantage in fast break points, outscoring San Antonio 13-6.
Game #4: Stars at Lynx – July 25 (L 88-78)
Both teams came into the game with two days off, but the Stars were still without Jia Perkins (hamstring). The game would swing in the second quarter as the Lynx outscored San Antonio 27-19. Minnesota shot 54 percent for the game, compared to just 44 percent for the Stars. Augustus led the way for Minnesota with 17 points. Danielle Robinson led the Stars with 15 points.
Game #5: Lynx at Stars – August 15 (W 92-76)
In the fifth and final matchup of the series, Augustus would sit out with a knee injury for the Lynx. After a close first quarter, the Stars broke it open in the second and never looked back en route to their only win over Minnesota for the season. Perkins had 23 points in the win as the Stars shot 47 percent. Moore led Minnesota with a game-high 23 points in the loss.
In three games against Minnesota, Perkins has averaged 18.0 points, while McBride averaged 11.2 ppg against the Lynx in her rookie season.
Moore is averaging 19.4 ppg against the Stars and Augustus is at 18.6 ppg against the silver and black.
San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes has said that he believes that his team can compete against Minnesota and Phoenix. With an effort like their August 15 game, they may pull off a shocking upset.
The Stars and Lynx will begin their Western Conference Semifinals series on Thursday at 8 p.m. inside the Target Center. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. inside the AT&T Center.