The Phoenix Mercury have had some time to savor their first victory of the season, and they prepare to build on it while beginning a three-game road swing.
First stop: Minnesota on Thursday night, where the Mercury face a Lynx squad that is coming off its first defeat of 2019.
After falling in a tightly contested opener, 77-68 at Seattle on May 25, Phoenix (1-1) had plenty of time to regroup and ultimately pull out an 86-84 home victory over Las Vegas on Friday. Essence Carson scored 20 while Yvonne Turner and Brittney Griner each had 18 points as the Mercury shot 50.8 percent to even their record.
"It's a team effort," Carson said on the Mercury's official Twitter account. "(Against Las Vegas), we had great support from each and every player. We're not looking to turn back. We're looking to keep (taking) steps forward."
Phoenix, which continues to play without injured legendary guard Diana Taurasi, has again had a relatively lengthy stretch to look forward at a run of three road games in six days. That starts with a visit to Minnesota (3-1), which was the WNBA's last undefeated team before falling 84-77 at Seattle on Tuesday.
Despite missing the likes of stars Maya Moore (sitting out 2019) and Seimone Augustus (injury), the Lynx are off to a strong start. However, even though they shot an impressive 50.9 percent Tuesday, the Lynx could not keep the host Storm from shooting 59.3 percent from the field and going 7 of 13 from 3-point range. Minnesota was also outrebounded 28-17.
According to the Lynx, it marked just the fifth time since 2011 that the club lost a game when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor.
Rookie Napheesa Collier had a team-high 17 points while Sylvia Fowles added 16 with five rebounds. With her fifth rebound, Fowles passed Tina Thompson for fourth all-time on the WNBA's list with 3,069.
Collier and Fowles share the team's scoring lead, averaging 14.5 points. While Fowles continues to excel during her storied WNBA career, Collier's early success has been vital considering what Minnesota is missing without Moore and, at the moment, Augustus.
For Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, it's simply about staying in the moment and improving.
"Get better each day, staying in that small view," Reeve told the Lynx's official website during the preseason. "I don't want them to look out and look bigger. I want them to focus on doing something better than we you did the day before."