Seimone Augustus scored a game-high 25 points and made a key three-point basket down the stretch.
Seimone Augustus was already off to a sizzling start this season, and the Lynx guard got hotter Thursday night.
She scored a game-high 25 points as the defending WNBA champions rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Sparks 92-84 at Target Center before an announced crowd of 7,923.
Augustus' short inside jumper put the Lynx ahead 80-79 midway through the fourth quarter. After Los Angeles tied the score, Candice Wiggins and Augustus made back-to-back three-pointers for an 88-82 cushion. It proved enough.
"I was just thankful that I got it off," Augustus said of her only three-pointer. "I got a glimpse at the basket, and I was thankful that it went in."
The Lynx are 3-0 this season and have a nine-game winning streak going back to the playoffs last year.
The Sparks (2-1) led by as many as nine points in the middle of the third quarter behind their three-pronged attack. Forward Candace Parker, a the 2008 WNBA Rookie of the Year who was out much of the past two seasons because of injuries, scored 23 points, but none in the fourth quarter. Guard Kristi Toliver also had 23 points, nine of them on threes. And rookie Nneka Ogwumike, a 6-2 forward who was the first pick in the WNBA draft, had her best game as a pro with 20 points and nine rebounds.
"They got a good mix of players that can really put some points on the board," Augustus said. "But it came down to defense. In the fourth quarter, we locked down, we started to swarm them, force some turnovers and get some deflections on the ball."
The Lynx outscored the visitors 26-14 the final 10 minutes.
Coach Cheryl Reeve expected a tough challenge. "L.A. is tired of hearing about Minnesota," she said. "They think they are better than us."
Los Angeles opened last season by beating the Lynx for the eighth consecutive time, but the Sparks now have lost five in a row in the series.
"We were up on them for 36 minutes," Parker said, "and then the last four minutes killed us."
Said first-year Sparks coach Carol Ross: "Minnesota did a great job of hanging around, fighting through the adversity. They got what they came for, which was a win."
The Lynx looked vulnerable inside on defense at times and committed 19 turnovers.
"We were just trying to make the home-run play, so it was a matter of slowing down," said Augustus, who was 11-for-17 from the floor.
Also in double figures in scoring for the Lynx were Rebekkah Brunson (17), Lindsay Whalen (14) and Maya Moore (11).
"That was our first test of the 2012 season," said Reeve, whose team won its first two games by 22 and 18 points. "As I told [our players], when I'm cussing and spitting and getting into them, they understand how to fix it."
|Utah Valley U||64|
|(5) South Carolina||67|
|(14) NC State||79|
|(11) Penn State||82|
|(2) Notre Dame||83|
|(19) Michigan State||61|
|(13) North Carolina||73||FINAL|
|(15) Texas A&M||86|
|San Diego State||46||FINAL|
|San Jose St||80||FINAL|