WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL (BEST OF THREE)
Lynx (27-7) vs. Los Angeles (24-10)
Game 1: 7 p.m. Thursday at Target Center, ESPN2
Game 2: 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Los Angeles, Ch. 5
Game 3 (if nec.): 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10, ESPN2
ON THE COURT
Lynx: Good thing the Lynx are home. The defending champions have to be a little tired and physically beat up after winning a tough three-game semifinals series with Seattle. On Sunday, the Lynx lost in two overtimes on the road, then on Tuesday battled until the last possession to edge the Storm 73-72. In that game, point guard Lindsay Whalen injured her left wrist but returned. ... Forward Rebekkah Brunson is tied with Indiana's Tamika Catchings in averaging a league-high 11.7 rebounds in the playoffs. ... Seimone Augustus has become a second-half spark in the past two games, scoring 14 points and then 12 in the third quarter. ... Second-year forward Maya Moore scored 20 points against the Storm in the third game. But coach Cheryl Reeve is concerned with her defense: "She had a tremendous first half offensively. She scored 17 points. I think she probably gave up 16 points, so that is a plus-one."
Los Angeles: The Sparks had five starters who averaged in double figures during the regular season. ... The two leading scorers are the inside-outside combination of 6-4 Candace Parker and 5-7 Kristi Toliver. Parker averaged 17.4 points; Toliver's 17.5 edged her. Parker averaged 28.5 points and Toliver 26 as L.A. swept San Antonio in two games. ... The Sparks were second in the WNBA scoring at 84 points per game -- two behind the Lynx. They were 16-1 at home during the regular season, same as the Lynx, but had a losing 8-9 record on the road. ... They were 2-2 vs. the Lynx this season, winning twice at home, losing twice at Target Center.
Lynx: Cheryl Reeve was the Coach of the Year in the WNBA last season when her team was 27-7 in the regular season and 7-1 in the postseason. Reeve has shortened her bench for the playoffs and prefers the Lynx play at a fast pace.
Los Angeles: Carol Ross became the Sparks head coach after three seasons as an assistant on the Atlanta Dream staff. Ross is a strong candidate for the Coach of the Year award this season. Last year the Sparks were 15-19 and missed the playoffs.
The first team to 100 will win every game. At their best, the Lynx can run and shoot better than any team in the league, so they win in three.