For the second installment of the WNBA Canadian Weekly Recap, we will catch up with the three Canadians in the W and look at how their past 7 days went, as well as add on a new segment to the series: the biggest Non-Canadian achievements of the week.
There’s plenty to dive into, so let’s get started with updates from the two Phoenix Mercury vs Minnesota Lynx games that contained Canadian content on both sides.
Kia Nurse – G – Phoenix Mercury
It was a tough week for the Phoenix Mercury who are still looking to get things on track in a season that is starting to snowball. The Mercury went 0-2 on the week, losing twice at home to the Minnesota Lynx; the first one being close, and the second being a complete blowout.
The woes from the entire Mercury unit seemed to pass onto Canadian Kia Nurse as well, who had a week that she probably would like to soon forget. In the two teams’ first meeting this past Wednesday, Nurse was scoreless with 1 rebound in 22 minutes, shooting 0/3 from the floor. In the second matchup, Nurse finished with 2 points and 5 rebounds in 21 minutes, shooting 1/7 from the field and 0/2 from deep.
It almost seems as if Nurse looks uncomfortable in the flow of Phoenix’s offence, and the return of Diana Taurasi has obviously meant less touches on the basketball. There’s still a lot of time to get things going again, but Nurse will have to find other ways to contribute until she’s able to get her shot going, and start looking for small ways to contribute on each possession. Nurse is in an unfortunate slump, but if there’s anything we know about her it’s that she’s resilient, and it will only be a matter of time before the train gets back on the tracks.
The losses moved the Mercury to 7-9 and second-last in the Western Conference, a spot that few would have seen coming before the season started.
Bridget Carleton – F – Minnesota Lynx
While Nurse and the Mercury suffered back-to-back defeats to the Lynx, it means that Canadian Bridget Carleton and company won two important games in the Western Conference race. The two wins are massive for the Lynx who are trying to solidify a top spot in the conference and build momentum towards the postseason.
For Carleton, the minutes were a bit down for the first matchup of the week compared to earlier in the season: she only played 6 minutes in the Lynx midweek win over the Mercury and didn’t record any points. Later in the week though, Carleton got the chance to show a bit of her all-around game, scoring 3 points alongside 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 19 minutes of play. She only took 2 shots (both of them three), but played a solid all-around game considering the inconsistent playing time.
Moving forward, it would be nice to see Carleton’s role increase, although her mentality should stay the same either way. Her name is definitely going to be called in bigger roles at some point during the rest of the season, and when it happens, she’ll need to be ready to make an impact like every Canadian fan knows she’s capable of.
The wins move the Lynx to 9-7 and 3rd in the conference, 4 games behind the leading Las Vegas Aces and Seattle Storm.
Natalie Achonwa – F – Minnesota Lynx
Natalie Achonwa is still rehabbing from her MCL sprain that has caused her to miss a bulk of this year’s WNBA season.
It was announced last week that the goal for Achonwa would be to have her return for the Olympics and then rejoin the Lynx after that, and it seems as if that plan is still in place. This week Team Canada officially announced that she would be on the team’s final roster alongside Nurse and Carleton, which is a good sign for her health moving forward.
Considering the issues that she has had to deal with, the hope is that better days are on the horizon for Achonwa, who will get to represent her country and then come back for an important playoff push with the Lynx over the next few months.
Non-Canadian Achievements of the Week
- Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces) named WNBA players of the week after fantastic multi-game performances
- Marina Mabrey scored 28 points in Dallas Wings 100-91 win over Chicago
- Brionna Jones scored a career-high 34 on incredible 14/19 shooting in a midweek win over Indiana
- Skylar Diggins became the fastest player to reach 3,000 points, 1,000 assists and 200 steals after recording her 1,000th assist this week