Postgame Notes: June 27, 2004

Sparks 83, Lynx 67
Target Center

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Los Angeles completed its five-game road trip at 3-2 with this evening's victory, improving to 9-6 on the season and pulling to within a half-game of Seattle (8-4) for first place in the Western Conference. The Sparks are now 5-6 on the road and will kick off a four-game homestand Tuesday night vs. New York. Eight of L.A.'s next nine games are at Staples Center, where they've gone 4-0 this season.

The loss was Minnesota's third straight (and fifth in its last six outings), dropping the Lynx to 5-8 for the year and into sixth place in the West. Despite the slide, they're just a game behind Phoenix (6-7) for the fourth and final Western playoff berth. Minnesota suffered only one three-game losing streak a year ago; they're currently two games behind 2003's pace, when they started 7-6 en route to an 18-16 finish.

The Sparks have now beaten Minnesota 18 straight times in the regular season, dating to the Lynx' 86-73 victory in the clubs' first-ever meeting (June 24, 1999 at the Great Western Forum). Minnesota's only home win came in the 2003 WNBA Playoffs, when they rallied for a 74-72 victory (Aug. 28, 2003). Los Angeles improves to 160-75 all-time, while Minnesota suffers its 100th regular-season loss (75-100).

Los Angeles raced to a 53-42 halftime lead, setting a record for the most points ever allowed in one half by the Lynx. Minnesota has given up three 50-point halves in its history; all three have been by the Sparks and all in first halves (51, May 28, 2003 at Target Center; 50, Aug. 21, 2003 at Staples Center). The teams' combined 95 points equals the fourth-highest-scoring half in Lynx history.

L.A. shot 64.3% (18-for-28) in the first half, finishing the night at 50.9% (29-for-57). The Lynx have given up 50%+ shooting in two straight games (San Antonio 50.0% on Thursday at the SBC Center), after holding their first 11 opponents below 50% including eight under 45%. Meanwhile, Minnesota posted its third straight sub-40% outing, shooting 39.2%; the Lynx are 0-7 when finishing under 40%.

The Sparks' 83 points represent their second-highest total of the season (95 at Washington, May 25) and just the third time they've topped 80. It's also the most allowed by Minnesota since Seattle posted an 88-85 victory on Opening Night (May 20) at KeyArena. During the Lynx' current three-game losing streak, they're being outscored by 17.3 ppg (56.7-74.0) and being outshot 48.5% to 37.6%.

The Lynx were faced with a 32-23 rebounding deficit tonight, including 17-9 before halftime. They've been outboarded in five of their last six games (by an average of -3.8 rpg), and slip to 0-7 when coming up short. Minnesota tied a club record low by grabbing just three defensive rebounds in the first half. L.A. improves to 7-1 with the board edge; they outrebounded the Lynx 40-31 on June 11 at Staples.

Nicole Ohlde tallied a season-high 19 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lynx. Entering the game, Ohlde had been limited to a total of 17 points in her previous three starts. Teresa Edwards (10 points) was the only other Minnesota player to reach double figures, but Svetlana Abrosimova made her 2004 debut by scoring nine points in 14 minutes off the bench.

Sparks forward Mwadi Mabika led six double-figure scorers with 20 points, breaking a six-game slide in which she'd averaged just 7.0 ppg (on 34.0% shooting). Mabika also snagged four rebounds, leaving her five boards short of becoming the 16th player in WNBA history with 1,000 career rebounds. Rookie Christi Thomas came off the bench to post season highs with 14 points and a game-high eight boards.