Lynx Pregame Audio
Rashanda McCants Audio

By Philip Rossman-Reich
Lynx Writer

Scouting Report - Lynx (11-16) vs. Monarchs (9-19) 7 PM

Minnesota's losing streak hit six games after dropping a pair of games to New York and Connecticut last weekend. Luckily for the Lynx, the Silver Stars have also struggled, losing six of their last eight after falling in Indiana last night. The loss pulled Minnesota a half game ahead of San Antonio for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The bad news is that the two team's troubles have allowed Sacramento back into the race.

The Monarchs sat at 5-16 back on August 7. They have now won four of the last seven games, including wins over the Silver Stars, Fever and Sparks. That 4-3 record in the last three weeks might not be fantastic, but with San Antonio and Minnesota's recent struggles, it has pulled Sacramento within shouting distance of a playoff spot. If the Lynx can get a win, it might eliminate the Monarchs from playoff contention.

Minnesota will see Sacramento once more this season and getting a win would build some much-needed confidence heading into the final stretch. The first two matchups happened early in the year and may not tell a whole lot about what could happen Friday night. The first game ended with Seimone Augustus scoring 14 of her 30 points in the fourth quarter including a runner with 1:15 left to give the Lynx the win. The second game was a rebounding clinic from Sacramento in a 74-68 win at Target Center at the beginning of July. The Monarchs grabbed 15 offensive rebounds to the Lynx's seven and converted on numerous second-chance opportunities to get the win.

Sacramento is a team that Minnesota cannot give second-chance opportunities to, like they did in the last matchup on July 2. The Monarchs average 74.9 points per game and have some good offensive players in Nicole Powell and Ticha Penecheiro. Powell can put up points in a hurry. She averages 16.2 points per game. Penecheiro does not put up any where near the scoring numbers, but makes the offense go with her passing ability. The veteran point guard averages 5.2 assists per game and had 11 in Tuesday's loss at Atlanta. Those two get some support from Rebekkah Brunson, who averages 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and Kara Lawson, who averages 8.8 points per game mostly off the bench.

The Monarchs though struggle most on the defensive end. They give up 78.5 points per game. Against an offensive team like the Lynx, that could spell trouble. Then again, the 83.3 points Minnesota gives up per game could help Powell and Sacramento make up for its defensive struggles. That will make stats like rebounding and turnovers key -- two areas the Lynx have struggled with in the past, but coach Jen Gillom believes they are improving on. In the previous matchup back in July, Sacramento outrebounded Minnesota by nine and committed two fewer turnovers. In giving up 103 points to Atlanta on Tuesday, Sacramento committed 17 turnovers and lost the rebounding battle by two boards. The Lynx must win these statistical battles to win this game.

Keys To A Win For Minnesota:
--Match and outdo Sacramento's desperation and urgency
--Limit second-chance opportunities
--Protect the ball
--Keep working for the better shot

Matchup To Watch:
Kelly Miller/Renee Montgomery vs. Ticha Penecheiro

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