Web Editorial Associate
With their backs against the wall, the Minnesota Lynx are focusing on doing all they can to extend the best-of-five WNBA Finals series against the Los Angeles Sparks.
Trailing 2-1 to the Sparks in the series, the Lynx are faced with a win-or-go-home Game 4 on Sunday night at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
“I think any game in the playoffs should be intense and you should be ready to play. We don’t want to approach this game any different,” Sylvia Fowles said while speaking to the media on Saturday afternoon at the USC Galen Center. “I know we need to do a couple of things to make sure we get off to a good start and make sure we get off on the right tone, but if you’re not motivated going into Game 4 knowing the position that we’re in, then we’re in a problem. But I approach it like another game.”
Minnesota fell to Los Angeles in Game 3 on Friday night, the first of two games at STAPLES Center during this series. In two appearances in Los Angeles during the 2017 season (one in the regular season and one in the playoffs), the Lynx are still searching for their first win.
“We were very stagnant (in Game 3) and didn’t execute the way we wanted to. That created a lot of one-on-one situations for every player,” Seimone Augustus said. “It forced Syl to try and score over two people, it forced Maya to have to shoot tough-contested shots. When we are efficiently flowing in our offense, I feel like no team can guard us.”
The Lynx have been in a similar situation before. In last year’s Finals against the Sparks, Minnesota trailed 2-1 going into Game 4 in Los Angeles. The Lynx went on to win that game on the road to force a Game 5.
“You pretty much have to just dig deep and come out with a win,” Fowles said. “I said that from the beginning it was going to be the little things that separates a win from a loss. . . Being on the road, it’s no different. It’s just like them coming into our house. You have to get the win. As difficult as it may be or as challenging as it may be, you just have to get a win.”
Game 4 between the Lynx and Sparks will tip off at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Sunday at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The game will be aired on ESPN, 106.1 BOB FM, TuneIn Radio and the Lynx App.
“You have to do more when the game gets hard. You can’t take shortcuts,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We’ll see if we can turn the corner (on Sunday) . . . At some point, it isn’t about trying to motivate and talk. It’s kind of about the collective will. Whoever has that is going to win the game.”
And even though their backs are against the wall as they face elimination, the Lynx are going to give everything they have to take Game 4 on Sunday and force a series-deciding Game 5 back in Minneapolis.
“We have a lot of heart, that’s one thing this team has. You could see it in Game 1, we were down 20-some points and we came back. It’s going to be the same way tomorrow,” Augustus said. “Our season is on the line. We can either extend it and push the game back to the Barn where we know we have a great chance of winning or we can let it go.
“With the women that are around me, we are going to give everything we have and try and push it to a Game 5.”