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The Los Angeles Sparks (2-2) hope to have both Azurá Stevens and Jasmine Thomas make their 2023 debuts Saturday night against the Seattle Storm (0-3) at Crypto.com Arena (10 p.m. ET, CBS Sports). Both are game-time decisions.
Both are in their first year with the Sparks, with Thomas being acquired in a trade with the Connecticut Sun and Stevens being signed in free agency. Both were expected to be key contributors if not borderline stars. Stevens has been out with a back injury; Thomas is still recovering from a torn ACL that kept her out for all but five games of 2022.
LA is coming off an overtime win over the Phoenix Mercury Friday night. So far, the Sparks have only played two teams, losing twice to the Las Vegas Aces (one blowout, one close one) and emerging victorious over Phoenix twice (one blowout, one close one). We’ll see how Lexie Brown follows up her career-high-tying 26 points from Friday night. Brown, who also accomplished the feat in the wubble with Minnesota, was 11-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from distance. Brown averaged 19.6 minutes per game over two years with the Lynx before averaging just 9.5 in the 17 games she appeared in for the 2021 WNBA champion Chicago Sky. Last year, in her first season in LA, she got back to being a key contributor for a team (25 minutes per game) and so far this year she is fourth on the Sparks in minutes per game with a career-high 28.3.
Fifth on the team in minutes per game is Karlie Samuelson, who, as we mentioned in Friday’s preview, is looking like not just a roster lock for the first time in her career, but also one of the top scorers on the Sparks. She is averaging 11.5 points on 64.3 percent shooting from downtown. The Sparks players who are playing the biggest roles of their careers will be key moving forward.
The Storm have played two good teams close in their last two games after getting blown out by the Aces in their opener. Jewell Loyd has not disappointed in her first season as the team’s Batman, as she leads the league with 26 points per game. If Loyd manages to be the top scorer in the league throughout the season, Seattle may be able to make some noise. You know Loyd is going to do everything in her power to make sure they’re not empty points that don’t result in wins. Because she is a true winner and understands the responsibility of upholding Seattle’s winning culture.
Lynx (0-6) at Mystics (3-2)
The Mystics are looking to assert themselves as a Top 4 team in the league. They did a good job in beating the Wings Friday night after I suggested in the Friday preview that Dallas could take their spot as that No. 4 team. However, they only won by one point and their previous win over Chicago was by just two. Washington hasn’t looked dominant since its 16-point season-opening win over the Liberty. Let’s see if it can break through and win a blowout over the 0-6 Lynx.
Minnesota unfortunately has to deal with the indefinitely-long absence of Diamond Miller due to an ankle injury. The Lynx may be 0-6, but they’ve lost five close games. As long as Napheesa Collier (18.8 points per game) keeps playing well, they’ll have a shot to beat anyone.
Minnesota Lynx (0-6) vs. Washington Mystics (3-2)
When: Saturday, June 3 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
How to watch: WNBA League Pass
Lynx inury report: Natalie Achonwa (personal; out), Diamond Miller (ankle; out)
Mystics injury report: Myisha Hines-Allen (kneecap; game-time decision)
Seattle Storm (0-3) vs. Los Angeles Sparks (2-2)
When: Saturday, June 3 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, CA
How to watch: CBS Sports
Storm inury report: none
Sparks injury report: Katie Lou Samuelson (personal; out for season), Azurá Stevens (back; game-time decision), Stephanie Talbot (knee; out for season), Jasmine Thomas (knee; game-time decision)