MINNEAPOLIS -- Five wins.
They're all that's left of the shrinking chasm between the Minnesota Lynx franchise and the penultimate objective it was built to attain. They're also the team's mark against the next roadblock in that endeavor.
But this is not the same obstacle Minnesota swept out of its path five separate times during the first half of the season.
This is a Phoenix Mercury team operating under new leadership, different emphases and renewed passion. All three were evident in a first-round upset of the Los Angeles Sparks, and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve expects a similar challenge starting at 8 p.m. Thursday inside the Target Center.
"They're saying, 'Hell, why not?'" Reeve said this week. "We were supposed to win the damn thing anyway. We just got here in a different way.'"
Phoenix was indeed the media and women's basketball world darling at the season's outset, sporting fierce point guard Diana Taurasi and No. 1 overall pick Brittney Griner. The Mercury were picked to co...