Lynx vs. Sparks, 7 p.m.
ESPN2, BOB 102.9
It’s revenge time. After a brutal loss to the Fever on Tuesday, the Lynx face their archrivals, the Los Angeles Sparks, on Thursday night in what should be a very different game than either of their last two meetings.
The Lynx have played the Sparks twice this season but dropped both matchups. In their first game, it was a Chelsea Gray buzzer-beater that did them in, and in the second a rash of turnovers and an unproductive third-quarter offense.
But those losses were from a different time. The second loss to the Sparks represented somewhat of a low for Minnesota. Though the Lynx’s tough loss on Tuesday left a bad taste in their mouth, they had up until that point been playing excellent basketball. Even with the loss to Indiana, the Lynx have still won eight of their last ten. Things have also turned somewhat for the Sparks. After a blazing-hot start, Los Angeles is 3-4 in their last seven. They stand at 12-6 overall.
The Sparks’ success is built upon their incredibly efficient offense. They shoot the highest percentage from the floor of any team in the league and cough up the league’s fewest turnovers per game. The Sparks will be a real test for a Minnesota defense that has grown into one of the league’s best.
On an individual level, the Lynx’s excellent frontcourt of Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles will match up with another star-studded duo in Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, who lead their team in scoring with 16.4 and 15.9 points per game, respectively. Sylvia Fowles, however, is ready for the fight. She’s bound to come out aggressive after a brutal outing against the Fever. Fowles leads the WNBA in rebounding, and she’s averaging 17.2 points per game.
Though the Sparks team defense isn’t the best in the league, Alana Beard is a historically great one-on-one defender, and Maya Moore will need to focus in to stay productive against her. Moore won back-to-back Western Conference Player of the Week awards, and scored over 20 points in each game of the Lynx’s seven-game winning streak, but managed just nine points against the Fever. Getting back on track won’t be easy against Beard, but Moore is no doubt unhappy about her performance against Indiana and should be fired up to play the Sparks.
The Lynx and Sparks have brought us some absolute classics throughout the years, and Thursday should be no different. The Lynx will need all the help they can get from the Target Center crowd to beat L.A. and get back to their winning ways. Be there and be loud!
Lynx: PG—Whalen, SG—Augustus, SF—Moore, PF—Brunson, C—Fowles
Sparks: PG—Gray, SG—Beard, SF—Carson, PF—Ogwumike, C—Parker
Lynx: No injuries to report.
Sparks: Sydney Wiese (knee) is out.