The WNBA weekly Canadian recap is back for its third installment in what was an action-packed week for the W, especially in the case of the two teams with Canadian content.
The Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx both had three games on the schedule this past week, with the chance to shift the tides in the Western Conference before the all-star/Olympic break. Let’s dive into how both teams fared, and the role the Canadians played in the results.
Kia Nurse – G – Phoenix Mercury
The Mercury began this week’s proceedings with a big time win over the frontrunning Las Vegas Aces in overtime on Wednesday night by a score of 99-90. Despite the big scoreline, Kia Nurse’s struggles continued on offence, finishing with 3 points and 5 rebounds on 1/6 from the floor.
The result was big for Phoenix who had lost two in a row, and they continued their positive momentum two nights later against Seattle. The Mercury won 85-77 on Friday night, and Nurse played better than she did in the previous few outings in the win. Nurse finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists on 2/8 shooting, in what was a semi-return-to-form for the Canadian star.
Two days later in a rematch against the Storm though, Nurse fully reintroduced herself back into the big-time with her best performance of the season for Phoenix, although they ended up falling short with a 82-75 loss. Nurse led the team in scoring with an explosive 28 points on 9/19 shooting and a personal best 7/14 from beyond the arc. The Canadian international finally found her offensive game and didn’t look back, and did so just in time for the Olympic break. Canadian basketball fans will hope that she can continue to deliver as she did on Sunday when things get underway in Tokyo, as Nurse can be one of the most dominant players across the board in the women’s game when she has her shot going.
For the Mercury, they go 2-1 on the week and enter the Olympic break at a slightly disappointing 9-10, which puts them in 4th in the Western Conference.
Bridget Carleton – F – Minnesota Lynx
The Minnesota Lynx also faced a packed schedule this past week, and got things underway with a 85-79 victory over the Dallas Wings. Canadian Bridget Carleton had one of her best performances of the season off of the bench, scoring 10 points on 3/7 shooting and added on with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. The performance proved yet again that Carleton can be a difference maker for this basketball team, and she would replicate her impressive stat line later on in the week.
On Friday, the Lynx took on one of the top contenders in the league: the Las Vegas Aces. Despite the uptick in competition, the result was the exact same for Minnesota, who led from wire to wire and walked away with a 77-67 win. It was a bit of a quiet night for Carleton, who still played well despite only putting up 4 shots. She finished with 5 points and 2 assists in 17 minutes off of the bench, and was involved in a few key possessions that swayed the game into her teams’ favour.
Carleton’s last game of the week came on Sunday as the Lynx won their WNBA-best 7th straight game by a large margin; defeating the Los Angeles Sparks 86-61. Carleton played well yet again with another 10-point outing, shooting 4/8 and 2/4 from three. She pitched in with 2 assists and played a great game off of the bench, getting open looks while remaining in the flow of the offence. The result capped off one of the best weeks of the season for Carleton, who is trending upwards going into the Olympic tournament over the next few weeks.
As for the Lynx, they continue to climb up the standings in 3rd place in the West, and are now only 3 games out of first place.
Natalie Achonwa – F – Minnesota Lynx
For injured Canadian Natalie Achonwa, there isn’t much of an update other than the timetable they have set for her continues to remain on track.
It was announced a few weeks ago that Achonwa would sit out until the Olympic break and then come back to play for Canada, returning to the Lynx afterwards for the remainder of the season. As of right now, even amidst COVID concerns amongst other issues in Tokyo, it seems as if Achonwa will be returning on schedule and joining Team Canada which is excellent news for both fans of the Canadian national team as well as of the Minnesota Lynx.
Non-Canadian Achievements of the Week
- Legend Sue Bird becomes the first player in WNBA history to record 3,000 assists
- Jonquel Jones finished with a 17-point 17-rebound double-double in Sun win over Liberty
- Tina Charles scored 32 points to go along with 17 rebounds in dominant performance for the Washington Mystics
- The WNBA All-Star game 3-point competitors were announced: Jonquel Jones (Connecticut), Jewell Lloyd (Seattle), Allie Quigley (Chicago) and Sami Whitcomb (New York)
- The WNBA All-Star game is at 7pm est. on Wednesday July 14th at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV