all scores

Lynx are counting on Aerial Powers in playoffs despite apparent feud

Minnesota Lynx forward Aerial Powers reacts to a foul call during the first game of the 2023 WNBA playoffs. (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Aerial Powers’ future in Minnesota is up in the air. But in the WNBA playoffs, coach Cheryl Reeve expects Powers to be ready to perform off the bench for her team, she said Tuesday.

The 2023 season has been an unexpected one for Powers, who is earning $201,984 from the Lynx but is averaging less than 10 minutes per game. The 29-year-old forward is in the final year of her three-year contract, and she will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

In Game 1 of Minnesota’s first-round playoff series against the Connecticut Sun, Powers played 14 minutes in the 90-60 loss. She recorded 4 points (all at the free-throw line), 3 rebounds and 1 block, and she also had 3 turnovers.

The Lynx will face the Sun again at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, and they will need a win to avoid elimination. Before Tuesday’s loss, Reeve said that the Lynx will need help from their bench, including Powers, if they want to pull off the series upset.

During the 2022 season, Powers had cemented herself as a starter and a big piece of the Minnesota attack. She started in 31 games and led the Lynx in scoring with 14.42 points per game. This season, though, she has barely seen the floor.

Powers battled an ankle injury early in the season, but once she got healthy, her minutes didn’t increase. The guard is averaging 9.8 minutes per game – the lowest of her career – and scoring 5.2 points per game – also the lowest in her career.

The Michigan State product expressed her frustration with the situation on Twitter a few weeks ago, saying that she was looking forward to her fans watching her play “with another organization” next season.

Despite the limited minutes, Powers has scored in double-digits five times this season. One of those performances came against the Sun in an 87-83 victory on July 30. She finished with 14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a block in 23 minutes of playing time.

“When she gets her opportunity, hopefully she has similar success,” Reeve said Tuesday, referring to the July 30 game. “I suspect she will have their full attention. In that game, she had a great first half, and then they put the kibosh on that. They got pretty aggressive with it.”