Lynx Sparks Game Notes - May 25, 2005

WNBA Post-Game Notes
Minnesota vs. Los Angeles
May 25, 2005 @ Target Center

Los Angeles 65

* Minnesota squared its record at 1-1 with Wednesday's victory, winning its third straight Target Center opener and improving to 5-2 all-time in that category. The Lynx have now split their first two games in each of the past six seasons, since beginning 2-0 in their inaugural 1999 campaign. They'll wrap up the brief two-game homestand by hosting Sacramento on Sunday evening.

* The loss dropped the Sparks to 1-1 on their season-opening four-game road trip, having started with a 68-50 triumph at Seattle last Saturday. Los Angeles will visit Washington on Thursday and Charlotte on Sunday, before making its Staples Center debut next Tuesday vs. San Antonio.

* Minnesota picked up its first-ever regular-season home win over Los Angeles, having dropped their first 10 Target Center meetings (including five by four points or less). The Lynx did defeat L.A. in Game 1 of their 2003 WNBA Playoff series (Aug. 28), erasing a 21-point deficit en route to a 74-72 victory.

* The win was the Lynx' first of any kind (pre-, post- or regular season) since beating the Sparks 78-66 last Sept. 17 at Staples Center to clinch their second consecutive playoff berth. Minnesota lost at Sacramento to finish the 2004 regular season, was eliminated 2-0 by Seattle in the Western Conference semifinals, went 0-3 in exhibition play, and suffered a 79-65 Opening Night loss at Houston on Sunday.

* Minnesota outscored the Sparks 14-4 over the final 4:08 to take a 13-point halftime edge, then stretched its lead to 46-28 on Tamika Williams' basket with 17:03 left in the contest. Los Angeles responded with a 31-12 blitz, taking its only lead of the night when Lisa Leslie's jumper made it 59-58 with 3:50 to play.

* Katie Smith then answered with two straight 3-pointers to regain the lead for Minnesota. Smith finished the contest 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, the 16th time in her WNBA career that she's drilled at least five treys. She also led all scorers with 24 points, her 77th career 20+ effort; only Leslie (with 88, including a 23-point performance last Saturday at Seattle) has racked up more 20-point outings in WNBA history.

* Chamique Holdsclaw topped L.A. with 14 points (10 in the second half) and 11 rebounds, notching her second straight point/rebound double-double. Holdsclaw, who had 16 points and 14 boards at Seattle, now needs just 10 points to become the sixth player in WNBA history to crack the 3000 plateau for her career. She's also 16 rebounds shy of 1500; only five other players have surpassed that mark.

* The Lynx shot 48.1% (13-for-27) prior to intermission, but tailed off to 32.1% (9-for-28) after the break. In two games to date, they've shot 45.9% in the first half while slipping to 30.9% in the final 20 minutes. Minnesota is outscoring the opposition by an average of 5.0 points (37.0-32.0) before halftime, while being outscored by 10.5 points (29.5-40.0) in the second half.

* Conversely, Los Angeles followed up a 27.8% (10-for-36) first half by shooting 45.7% (16-for-35) in the second. In their win at Seattle, the Sparks' splits were 31.4% and 41.0%, respectively. They're averaging 27.5 points before intermission thus far, hiking that to 39.0 points in the second 20 minutes.

* Minnesota overcame 22 turnovers to win, but forced 16 Los Angeles miscues and put together a 17-11 advantage in points off TOs. In their Opening Night loss at the Toyota Center, the Lynx were outscored 20-3 in that category. A year ago, Minnesota ranked last in the WNBA by averaging 18.0 TOs per game.