SPARKS LOCKER ROOM
"Offensively, I felt good and felt in rhythm," said guard Kristi Toliver, who scored a career-high 28 points for Los Angles in the Sparks' 85-72 loss to the Lynx on Tuesday at Target Center. "We've just go to put it together on both ends of the floor."
The Sparks had 25 turnovers, 17 in the first half, which the Lynx turned into 35 points.
"Minnesota does a good job of getting their hands on balls," Toliver said. "Touches, they're very active. They're a very long and athletic team. They pride themselves on the defensive end and that definitely showed, especially in the first quarter."
Toliver made nine of 14 shots, including four of six behind the arc. But she was only six of nine on free throws. So she moved up to third in the league in three-point shooting (35 of 70) at 50.0 percent, but dropped from first to eighth in free throw shooting (31 of 35) at 88.6 percent.
Center Ebony Hoffman, injured Candace Parker's replacement, had a season-high 24 points.
Her tactics? "Not waiting for my team to get me the ball, and being more aggressive," the 6-2 Hoffman said. "This second half of the season that was my goal -- to be more aggressive at every facet of the floor. From offensive rebounding to whenever I get the ball, not to be looking to be a passer, but looking to be a scorer."
She said the Sparks need to become tougher mentally.
"When situations get dire and we don't feel like the refs are calling calls towards us, we somewhat implode internally and then just can't turn it around. We've really got to figure it out, find a way to get wins and try to get it done the second half of the season."
Sparks coach Joe Bryant was troubled by his team's 25 turnovers which led to 35 Lynx points. "That might be a record," he said.
It was for the Lynx franchise.
"They're a good team," Bryant said. "That's what I told the players. They played well, but they really didn't beat us. We beat ourselves with the turnovers."
Los Angeles beat visiting Lynx 82-74 in the season opener on June 3. It was the Sparks' eighth consecutive victory over the Lynx. But two days later at Target Center, the Lynx won 86-69. Now with Tuesday's win, the Lynx lead the season series 2-1 with two games left.
The Lynx play at Los Angeles (6-9) on Aug. 7 and then play the Sparks at home on Aug. 20. Parker should be back for that second August meeting. She tore the lateral meniscus in her right knee in a game against the New York Liberty on June 26.