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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Defense looks vulnerable in latest Lynx loss

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: July 6, 2012 - 12:20 AM

To anyone worried about the Lynx losing their momentum because of the upcoming break for the London Summer Olympics: Relax.

The Lynx have already lost their early mojo. Three consecutive road losses, two in the last two games, does that.

And beating Connecticut on Saturday night at Target Center won't be easy. Especially if the Lynx keep giving up points like the stock market in the middle of a  crash.

San Antonio and Los Angeles have averaged 94.5 points the last two games.

Credit the Lynx for rallying on Thursday in L.A.., but it's hard to overcome 20-point holes.

“You’re not going to keep a champion down for four quarters - there was a rough part but [my players] responded," Los Angeles coach Carol Ross said, according to a Sparks news release.

L.A. won 96-90 after the Lynx cut the lead to four points  late in the game.

They did some different things and we didn’t adjust as quickly as we could have, but I’m just really excited about how we bounced back and stood up," L.A. coach Carol Ross said. "With a little rest and practice we’re a pretty good team."

The Sparks had been off six days.

“It wasn’t all rest—we were practicing a lot during that time," Ross said, "but just two main things: 1. to win and have a day off, which isn’t something we’ve had a lot of and 2. to get back in the gym and get back to some fundamentals. You have game slippage when you don’t practice.”

Los Angeles (11-6) had lost three games in a row.

“We wanted to come in and correct everything that we were doing poorly," Ross said. "Defending, rebounding, and executing better. I can think of 10 teams in this league that have had three-game loosing streaks—it happens. You play good teams, you play on the road and you play without practice. It hits all of us at times. You just have to remember what you do well and hide what you don’t do well.”

The Lynx (13-3) have not lost three in a row for a while. Their longest losing streak was two games last season and now they have matched that this year.

Point guard Kristi Toliver, a non-factor in two of L.A.'s past two games, scored 29 points, tying a career high. From beyond the arc, she was six for six. That's hard to do even in practice with nobody guarding you.  Of course, nobody guarded her at times in this game.

Candace Parker, a 6-4 forward, had 28 points and 13 rebounds for L.A. It was her ninth double-double of the season.

:“I’ve been pushing her hard and have been rough on her," Ross said, "and I think she just responds. Toliver is one that if you give her just enough fuel she’ll try to prove you wrong. Fortunately, it was me so she shot the ball great. She shot the ball tenaciously and defensively. Overall I’m happy to see she played both ends pretty well.”

“I just wanted to come out aggressive," Toliver said. "I was pretty frustrated with myself and how I was playing in the last couple games. I just have been decisive about my decision-making today and just refocused on what I do best, which is shooting.”

Toliver and Parker were both eight for 13.

The Lynx were O.K. shooting, 41.9 percent, except at the free throw line where they went an unsightly nine for 17.

* The newest Spark is Andrea Riley, a 5-5 guard, signed to a seven-day tryout. She did not play and L.A. has two players injured, so Ross went with eight players.

* The Lynx had an early 19-11 lead, but L.A. went on an 8-0 run to tie the score. ...The Sparks led 24-22 after the first quarter. Parker and Toliver each had 11 of those points. ... The Lynx led 43-42 after one of Candice Wiggins' two three-pointers, but L.A. finished the half with a 7-0 and the Lynx, with plenty of time left, could not even get a shot off in their last possession.

* The Sparks' lead got to 20 at 77-57 early in the fourth quarter.

* Rookie Devereaux Peters appeared to injure one of her fingers trying to keep the ball in a fourth-quarter scramble. Her left hand was wrapped up and attached to a board after the game.

* The Lynx set a franchise record last season by going 13-4 on the road. This year they started 5-0 on the road, but have fallen to 5-3.

SILVER STARS STAY HOT

San Antonio (9-5) won its fifth consecutive game, rallying from 18 points down to beat Indiana 88-72. Becky Hammon had 19 points and Jia Perkins 17 for the Silver Stars.

Hammon made all three of her shots from behind the arc, Perkins three of four. As a team, the Silver Stars were seven of 12 on three-point attempts.

Katie Douglas had 19 points for the Fever, Tamika Catchings 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Fever led 43-28 at halftime but were outscored 29-16 in the third quarter and 31-13 in the fourth.

* In London at the Summer Olympics, the U.S. will be Group A with Angola, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Not exactly the group of death, to borrow a soccer phrase.

In Group B will be Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, France and Russia.

 

 

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