The Lynx will try to avoid their third consecutive road loss when they play the Los Angeles Sparks at 2 p.m. today [Thursday] at the Staples Center.

The defending WNBA champions (13-2) got off to poor starts in both their losses. On June 17 at Seattle, they couldn't score in the first quarter and were held to a season-low 10 points in the opening 10 minutes. The Storm won 65-62.

After that the Lynx came home and won three in a row over New York, Chicago and Phoenix.

On Sunday, the traveled to San Antonio and had early trouble again. This time they couldn't stop the Silver Stars in the first quarter. San Antonio made its first nine shots from the field and led 35-21 after the opening quarter. The final score was 93-84 San Antonio.

Seimone Augustus called the Sparks another tough opponent. "Candace Parker sat out a little bit, but she is back and better than ever," Augustus said.

Los Angeles (10-6) has actually lost three game in a row since Parker returned to the lineup after missing one game with a sore knee.

But she had been inconsistent as had point guard Kristi Toliver recently.

Here is a look at how the Sparks' top three players have fared lately:

San Antonio 91, L.A. 74 at Staples Center

* Parker 15 points, 15 rebounds

* Nneka Ogwumike 4x12 on FGs, 10 points, five rebounds

* Toliver, 3x14 on FGs, eight points, three assists, two turnovers

* Sparks shoot 38.7 percent

Tulsa 91, L.A. 75 at BOK Center

* Parker two points, three rebounds

* Ogwumike 12 points, seven rebounds

* Toliver 21 points, seven assists, four turnovers

* Sparks commit 24 turnovers, shoot 44.6 percent

San Antonio 94, L.A. 80

* Parker 25 points, 13 rebounds

* Ogwumike 10 points, six rebounds ... better not wake her up

* Toliver zero points, one assist, three turnovers in 16:51

* Veteran Alana Beard had 14 points, 10 assists, taking over at point guard

The Lynx have beaten L.A. five times in a row, including 92-84 at Target Center on May 24. In that game the Lynx trailed by nine points midway through the third quarter (61-52). Parker and Toliver each had 23 points, Ogwumike 20.

Not enough. Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 25 points and the team shot 53.1 percent. The score was 82-all with 2:47 to play before the home team closed with a 10-2 run.

The Lynx won on their last trip to Staples Center, 84-78 on Aug. 7, 2011, but the place has been generally unkind to them. They are 4-19 there.


In the latest's power ratings, which came out earlier this week, the Lynx are No. 1, followed by surging San Antonio (8-5). Connecticut, which plays at Target Center on Saturday, is No. 3. Los Angeles is No. 6.