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.

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Coach: Unbeaten Lynx need to improve

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: May 26, 2012 - 1:35 PM

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said the Lynx did some things Thursday that were out of character for her team, i.e. 13 turnovers in the first half.

"Give L.A. credit," she said after the Lynx beat the Sparks 92-84 at the Target Center. "They really came at us and took the lead and made things difficult for us for most of the third quarter.

"What I learned about our team is that we didn't forget what it takes to win in the fourth quarter. That was our first test of the 2012 season."

Reeve said she tried to be positive with her team after the game because her players were beating themselves up about their miscues. "I said enough at halftime that wasn't positive," she said. L.A. led by three at halftime.

She said her team was pretty good in the first quarter but ... "the second quarter and the third quarter were rough. And then we got back to it in the fourth quarter."

Reeve said she felt dumbfounded and frustrated at times, but her team got through it.

"The thing that we are disappointed in," Reeve said, "is that anybody comes into our house and we let three players score 20 or more -- it's difficult when one scores 20 or more. It hits us where it hurts, let alone three."

Kristi Toliver and Candace Parker had 23 points apiece for L.A. and rookie Nneka Ogwumike 20.

"Toliver is shooting so well," Reeve said. "I think she was shooting near 70 percent when she came into the game. She is playing well. She has a rhythm going. Obviously, Parker does her thing. And this was Ogwumike's best game.

"L.A. is a good team. Where it is going to shake out in the standings, I have no idea. But there is no question what Carol [Ross] has done and where they are focused. They are hard to play against."

Ross is L.A.'s first-year head coach. She was an assistant coach at Atlanta the past three years.

As the Lynx prepare to play Seattle on Sunday, Reeve said she will be on her players hard about better attention to detail. The Lynx committed 19 turnovers against the Sparks, 13 in the first half.

"Seattle is going to be hard to play against on the defensive side of things," she said. "We will have to grind it out. And I don't care what it takes, but we have to have the mindset that if we don't score, they don't score."

REEVE SAYS

On Lindsay Whalen's play: "That was probably the best game that she has played, even counting our preseason games. She was really getting to the rim and kind of getting her wheels rolling."

On Lynx's high profile this season: "The expectation is high. There is no doubt about it. We can't hide from that. But we are very grounded in that locker room. And, as we said, we are not reading our press clippings. We are not thinking that we are going to win every game, in terms of, that it is going to be easy.

"We know every night in the WNBA is a tough night. If we don't come to play, we will get beat. And we know that. There is nothing about us that is invincible. Not a thing."

FULFILLING WIN

Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson's called the victory over Los Angeles stressful. "It is satisfying to win," she said, "but even in the previous games we didn't play them necessarily the way we wanted to play them. We made a lot of mistakes. We kind of got away with some stuff. And [Thursday] we didn't get away with the things we got away with in the other games.

"We still have some adjustments to make. But I am just glad we were able to come together and get the win."

Seimone Augustus led the Lynx in scoring for the third consecutive game with 25 points.

Asked about Augustus' play, Brunson said, "You love it. She is exciting. She brings a lot of energy to this team and she allows us to kind of follow her lead. When we are not getting it done, we can always look in her direction and she is going to lead by example for sure."

Augustus led the Lynx in scoring 17 times during the regular season last year. There are 34 regular-season games, so 'Mone was the Lynx's top scorer in exactly half of them.

TODAY IN WNBA

Tulsa plays at Washington, 6 p.m. Why watch this game? Hmmm. The Shock have two interesting rookies, Glory Johnson, who I and many mock drafts expected the Lynx would draft, and Riquna Williams. They are averaging 8.5 and 7.5 points, respectively. ... The Mystics are rebuilding and the Lynx play them on Tuesday on the road.

Los Angeles plays at Phoenix, 9 p.m. Diana Taurasi sat out the Mercury's season opener against the Lynx (bummer) and played only 10 minutes in their second game. But DT says she will play in the team's home opener. Always interesting what she does; league's GM votes her the league's best shooting guard.

Also read this, the Mercury are concentrating on improving their defense. Can it be? Nah, somebody must have heard wrong.

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