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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Lynx take advantage of Sparks' mistakes, rally for win

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 8, 2012 - 1:27 AM

Los Angeles coach Carol Ross was named the WNBA's Coach of the Year on Sunday before her Sparks played the Lynx in the afternoon at Staples Center.

She undoubtedly appreciated the award, but her day did not end too well.

The Lynx edged the Sparks 80-79 to sweep the best-of-three Western Conference Finals series in two games.

"Every mistake we made, they made us pay," Ross said, according to a news release from the Sparks. "You can’t get away with them on Minnesota. [Maya] Moore had two big threes and we were slow in our rotations.

"We had a miscue with [Lynx guard Monica] Wright in the corner. She nailed it - that was a big basket. I think when Cheryl [Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve] put [Rebekkah] Brunson back in with four fouls, it really showed their confidence and energy. To their credit, they made us pay when we made mistakes, and that’s what champions do. We have to live with the consequences.”

Wright's open three-pointer from the right wing put the Lynx ahead at 80-79 with 1 minute, 14 seconds left and neither team scored after that.

“We didn’t expect that [Wright]  was going to make the big shot," Reeve said. "We were looking for Maya. But Wright was wide open, and the calmness that she stood in there and took the shot with great confidence, and she was a huge help in this game. She’s always ready when her number is called.”

Sparks guard Alana Beard missed a baseline jumper from the right side with four seconds left.

"Candace [Parker] was going to be the screener," Ross said of the last play. "We were going to look for the drive and have Candace looking for the put-back. Beard had the option to get it to Parker on the pick and roll, and it wasn’t executed very well.”


Ross said momentum changed at the end of the third quarter.

"We should have held the ball and took the last shot. [Instead Maya] Moore hit a three, and I thought the energy changed then," Ross said.

Moore blocked a layup attempt by Parker with 15.4 seconds left, and then made a three-pointer with 3.6 seconds left to cut L.A.'s lead to 65-57, eight points.

Moore made two more threes in the third minutes of the fourth quarter and the Sparks' lead was down to 70-67.

"We all want to make it one play or one moment," Ross said, "but it’s an accumulation of 40 minutes of moments. We fought to get the lead, they fought to get it back. It was a game of runs. We wish we could have held it and built on it, and we didn’t. I’m not disappointed with our fight, and that’s the most important thing for me: we competed hard, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.”


Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who turns 42 on Oct. 20, played in her 500th career WNBA game. She has played in 440 regular-season games and a record 60 playoff games.

Tangela Smith (515) of San Antonio and Tina Thompson (507) of Seattle, both still active, are the only players who have played in more games than she has.

McWilliams-Franklin had eight points, a team-high five assists and two blocks 30 minutes.


Parker, L.A.'s 6-4 center, almost single-handedly willed the Sparks to win. She had 33 points and 15 rebounds and five blocks, four solo.

“Candace was tremendous," Ross aid, "not just tonight but all season long over the course of a very long season. She was excellent so many times. Her expectations for herself are much higher than any coach could have for her.

"I expect her to be almost perfect because she’s so talented, she has a warrior’s mindset. I’m disappointed for her that I couldn’t help her and the rest of the team get what they wanted. I will tell her I’m sorry I couldn’t do more, help her more, because she certainly helped us.”

Said Parker, “They beat us by one point. At this point you look back at different things you could have done in the game, but I think our rebounding was better from last game. But at the end of the day it came down to a rebound, which we didn’t get. Closing out on a long shooter. Obviously, disappointing to say the least about the outcome because I really felt like we were going to win this game.

“I really wanted this, this championship from the day we all got together. We had championship in our mind and in our hearts. It hurt after we lost tonight because I think that this is a championship team. But the ball didn’t fall our way, and it was tough towards the end, and the ball didn’t roll in.”

Said Reeve, “When you have good people, good things will happen. We do things the right way, the unselfish play. If you look at all of them, they all have the same reputation. I’m fortunate to be in Minnesota in this window of opportunity we have, it’s a good group. If I can stay out of the way and let them hoop and be themselves, then we have a chance to be successful."


* This was a game where big leads didn't matter much. The Lynx led by 12 early in the second period but held a 40-39 lead at halftime. ... L.A. used a 17-0 run to go up 62-50 late in the third quarter and Sparks' lead grew to 13 at 65-52 with 46.4 left in that quarter.

“I thought we were overanalyzing and we couldn’t score the ball and then they got into transition," Reeve said, referring to L.A.'s big run. "Our offense really triggered the run they made.

“I have players who play year around, and who have been up 17, up 13, down 17, and you know you have to keep playing. You don’t have a choice. I thought it was really important that they believe if we stay the course, we’ll be back in it. With five minutes to go, we put the pressure on them and made plays.”

Said Lindsay Whalen, "When we were down 13, we just knew we had to stay with it, and to stick together, and to make sure that we weren’t going to give up and just hold in on the game plan, knowing eventually we were going to make shots. We picked it up, got a little more pressure on the ball. We started to really get things going, get some steals, rebounded better, and we ended up getting the win.”

* The Lynx are 4-0 all-time in postseason games decided by three points or fewer.


With Sunday's win, the Lynx advance to the WNBA Finals for the second year. The schedule:

Game 1, Sunday, October 14: Connecticut/Indiana at Lynx, 7 p.m.
Game 2, Wednesday, October 17: Connecticut/Indiana at Lynx, 7 p.m.
Game 3, Friday, October 19: Lynx at Connecticut/Indiana, 7 p.m.
Game 4, Sunday, October 21: Lynx at Connecticut/Indiana, 7 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 5, Wednesday, October 24, Connecticut/Indiana at Lynx, 7 p.m. (if necessary)

Tickets  are available by calling the Lynx Front Office at 612-673-8400, visiting or  at the Target Center Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets.


Reeve: "[A game] is not decided in the first or second 10 minutes. We had great leadership, and Moore hit some great threes to get us back into it and give us more bounce to our step. Happy to get the W, survive and advance, and WNBA finals here we come.”



Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 Top 9th Inning
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 3 Bottom 8th Inning
Seattle 8
Cleveland 9 Bottom 9th Inning
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 Bottom 8th Inning
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 Bottom 3rd Inning
Washington 0
Boston 6:05 PM
Toronto 6:05 PM
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Dallas 9:30 PM
Calgary 6:00 PM
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Dallas 6:30 PM
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 28 2nd Half 16:11
Siena 49
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Navy 6:00 PM
Temple 6:00 PM
East Carolina
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
American Univ 6:00 PM
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Arkansas 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Morehead State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
North Florida
Southern Ill 6:05 PM
Missouri State
Texas State 6:30 PM
Appalachian St
SC State 6:30 PM
Delaware State 6:30 PM
Coppin State
Middle Tennessee 6:30 PM
Texas-Arlington 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Memphis 8:00 PM
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Marist 8:00 PM
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
George Mason 41 2nd Half 3:44
Saint Josephs 63
Arizona 24 2nd Half
Texas State 39 2nd Half 15:07
Appalachian St 43
TX-Arlington 40 2nd Half 15:43
Georgia Southern 13
SC State 13 1st Half 7:33
Bethune-Cookman 14
Delaware State 23 2nd Half
Coppin State 38
Portland 19 1st Half 3:21
Santa Clara 31
Norfolk State 15 1st Half 3:44
Hampton 23
NC A&T 33 1st Half 4:55
NC Central 11
Savannah State 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
Central Arkansas 5:00 PM
Houston Baptist 5:00 PM
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Georgia 5:00 PM
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
South Alabama 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 5:15 PM
Sam Houston St 5:30 PM
SE Louisiana 5:30 PM
New Orleans
Northwestern St 5:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Alabama A&M 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Southern U 5:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 5:45 PM
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
La Salle 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Illinois 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Missouri State 6:05 PM
Indiana State
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
San Francisco 8:00 PM
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Purdue 8:25 PM
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
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