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."




NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 4th Qtr 8:07
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 4th Qtr 2:02
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 4th Qtr 0:56
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 4th Qtr 7:52
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 4th Qtr 4:35
Northwestern 24
Marshall 35 4th Qtr 6:39
Miami-Ohio 20
UC Davis 0 4th Qtr 8:28
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 4th Qtr 12:00
(6) Auburn 35
(16) Clemson 14 2nd Qtr 9:37
(12) Georgia 14
Liberty 7 1st Qtr 0:00
(23) North Carolina 14
Ohio U 7 2nd Qtr 12:25
Kent State 7
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 2nd Half 15:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question


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