Jonah Ballow
Lynx Editor/Writer

Scouting Report - Lynx (14-18) vs Sparks (16-16) 9:45 PM

The Lynx are refusing to go away quietly in the Western Conference playoff race with consecutive victories over Seattle and Detroit. Unfortunately, San Antonio owns the tiebreaker and is now one win from securing the No. 4 seed after the Silver Stars defeated Sacramento last night.

As Minnesota continues to press forward, the Sparks await for tonight's pivotal matchup in Los Angeles. With the Sparks locking up the No. 3 seed, the game will not have any playoff implications for the home team. However, emotions are going to run sky high at the Staples Center. WNBA legend Lisa Leslie will play her final game in front of the Los Angeles crowd, ending a storied career that included three MVP awards.

The Lynx have lost two straight games to the Sparks after defeating Los Angeles 87-76 in June. The two teams are vastly different from the first meeting as Minnesota lost Seimone Augustus for the season while Los Angeles welcomed back Candace Parker to its lineup. In July, the Sparks slipped past the Lynx 76-70 with Tina Thompson scoring 30 points in the win. Los Angeles crushed Minnesota last month after Leslie returned to her championship form with 28 points. Rookie Renee Montgomery posted 16 points in the midst of a dreadful second half shooting performance from the Lynx (10-for-38).

The three-headed monster of Thompson, Leslie, and Parker will test the defensive capabilities of the young Minnesota squad. The Lynx held Los Angeles under 80 points in the three meetings this year and will need a similar approach to the game tonight. Minnesota's bench played a pivotal role in the two victories this past week but Candice Wiggins and Charde Houston will be forced to increase their offensive output to ensure a victory.

The Lynx will have to focus on the task at hand tonight and then wait for the result of the Silver Stars-Storm contest on Saturday night to find out if they remain in the playoff hunt.

Keys To A Win For Minnesota:
--Take crowd out of game
--Consistency on the offensive side of the floor
--Bench production

Matchup To Watch:
Tasha Humphrey vs. Lisa Leslie

"I feel better going on the road than the last time we went. I think we came off of a home loss before we went on the road. This team has momentum now and I really believe it will carry on. This team believes in themselves, they want to win and they see they have a chance. They see they control their own destiny. I'm hoping we go to LA and play another one of these great games where we are consistent for 40 minutes." -- head coach Jen Gillom
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