Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

E-mail Roman

Slowing Toliver, which Lynx did in Game 1, can slow L.A.

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 7, 2012 - 2:03 PM

"L.A. is not in the position they are in without the play of Krtisti Toliver," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said before her team began the best-of-three Western Conference Finals with the Los Angeles Sparks.

"Anytime you have a guard that can shoot as high of a percentage as she shot, in every zone that there is, she was really efficient. So that helps things for [Candace] Parker. There is less pressure on her. It gets your defense spread out because you are very concerned about where [Toliver] is.

"And the thing that is most overlooked about Kristi Toliver, because she shoots the three so well is that she gets to the foul line the most on the team at 5-6. It is a very challenging situation with her."

The Lynx, of course, handled Toliver quite well on Thursday

She had 12 points in L.A.'s 84-77 loss to the Lynx at Target Center, but 10 came in the fourth quarter when the Sparks trailed big. 

Toliver was four of nine from the floor, missed her only two three-point shot attempts, and was four of five on free throw attempts. She had only one assist and three turnovers. She averaged just over 17 points during the regular season and increased that average  to 26 points in the Sparks'  two-game sweep of San Antonio in the first playoff round.

If Toliver struggles again today, the Lynx should beat the Sparks  when they meet at 2:30 p.m. today at Staples Center in Game 2. L.A. was 16-1 on its floor during the regular season.

But Reeve is worried about more than Toliver.

"Their starting five is really, really good," Reeve said before Game 1. "[It]  accounts for 70 of their points night in and night out. We have been unable up to this point to shave too many points off their starting group. That's our goal. We have to make their starters earn things and to make their bench be more of a factor for them and see what they can do."

Last Thursday, Parker had 25 points and Alana Beard 16, but forwards Nneka Ogwumike and DeLisha-Milton Jones had six and three, respectively. So L.A.'s starters had 66 points. A little under their usual of 70.

Reeve said first-year L.A. coach Carol Ross has done a great job with the Sparks. "Look where they were before," she said. "Offensively, really getting a lot out of players. Getting [Nneka] Ogwumike helps Carol Ross be a better coach just like adding Maya Moore made me a better coach.It helps all of us when you get those kind of players.But Carol Ross [a former Atlanta Dream assistant] has done a great job like we all expected her to."


L.A. center Candace Parker on Ross: "Hiring her was definitely a key for this team. She is a great coach. I enjoy playing for her. She makes the game a lot of fun. She has turned up our energy level a lot. She is very knowledgeable about the game and specifically on the defensive end.

"And what is so special is, she listens to us. When we are on the floor, we get a feel, and she listens to what we have to say. Sometimes she takes our suggestions and sometimes she tells us a better way we can do things."

On Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who will be 42 in 13 days: "People underestimate how much experience matters. Taj has been in this league for a long time [this is her 14th season] and has really found her niche in Minnesota because she is able to have leadership and play. She is not going to be the one that averages 30, but she is going to get that crucial rebound [or] to find somebody. She is a great passing big. Playing against her, you can learn a lot from watching her play.  And it makes it a tough matchup."

On being in playoffs after three seasons interrupted by having a baby and injuries: "I have been sitting on the sidelines so long. Watching all-star games, watching playoffs. Watching other people do things on the court. It's fun to be on the court when everything matters. 

"I used to get yelled by Pat [Summitt at Tennessee] a lot. She would tell me that I needed to be more focused during the regular season. But during the postseason, she always knew that I was going to be about business. So she would always tell me that if I could get you this focused for the regular-season games, we would have the No. 1 seed overall in the tournament. It's fun to play in the postseason when the lights are on and when it is a lot of pressure."




Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53


question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters