8 p.m. vs. Washington in Bradenton, Fla. • ESPN2

Defense must make strides

Lynx update: Without center Sylvia Fowles, who missed her second game with a calf injury, the Lynx saw their four-game winning streak halted in one-sided fashion. In a 97-81 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, the Lynx, at least statistically, had the worst defensive outing in franchise history. Los Angeles shot 65.5% from the field, including going 13-for-22 on three-pointers. That overshadowed one of the best rookie performances in Lynx history. Guard Crystal Dangerfield scored 29 points with four assists and two steals. She became the fourth rookie in franchise history to score 29 or more points in a game. G/F Bridget Carleton played well starting for Fowles. But the Lynx (5-2) need more from F Napheesa Collier and F Damiris Dantas, who combined to make one field goal and score five points in the second half. Fowles is listed as probable for this game. G Shenise Johnson (hamstring) is questionable. G Odyssey Sims is serving the final game of a two-game suspension.

Mystics update: After starting the season 3-0, which included a one-sided victory over league-leading Seattle, the Mystics have lost four straight. That included a loss to New York — the Liberty’s only victory of the season — that Mystics coach Mike Thibault called one of the most embarrassing in his eight seasons as a WNBA coach. Washington responded to that by losing to Indiana. Washington averaged 94.7 points while winning its first three games but just 78.3 in the four games since. The Mystics are led by F Aerial Powers (16.3 points per game) and F Myisha Hines-Allen (15.9 ppg), but Powers is out (hamstring). Perhaps the key player on the team is C Emma Meesseman, the MVP of last year’s finals. She is averaging 15 points, six rebounds and four assists per game. C Tina Charles (medically exempt) and F/G Elena Delle Donne (back) also are out.

KENT YOUNGBLOOD