Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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Los Angeles Sparks (5-2) vs. Minnesota Lynx (6-2), 7 p.m., Target Center

Where to Watch: WNBA LiveAccess, No TV

Where to Listen: 106.1 BOB FM


The Minnesota Lynx are trying to get some revenge on the Los Angeles Sparks.

Last Friday, the Sparks beat the defending Western Conference Champions 87-59.

It's not something the Lynx have been used to, and head coach Cheryl Reeve noted that her starters from the get-go that her starters weren't up to par. The Lynx bounced back the following Sunday with a big win over the Tulsa Shock.

Although the Lynx are just eight games into the season, this game is a battle for first place in the West, as LA sits just a half game back of Minnesota. Expect the Lynx to come out protecting their court and protecting their Western Conference title.

Last time out

Minnesota recovered from its loss to Los Angeles by defeating the Tulsa Shock 88-79 at home on Sunday evening. Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus led the way with 22 points each. Moore added six rebounds, while Augustus contributed four assists.

Forward Rebekkah Brunson, the rebounding machine, finished with her third double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Teammate Lindsay Whalen nearly joined Brunson in the double-double club, scoring 19 points and dishing nine assists out. The former Golden Gopher was as efficient as they come, needing just six shots to put up those points. She was 11-for-14 from the free-throw line. The Sparks are coming off a 79-69 win over the Washington Mystics on Sunday night. In her second game back since returning from a concussion, guard Lindsey Harding played all 40 minutes and scored a game-high 22 points. She also added seven assists.

Center Candace Parker scored 20 points to go along with seven rebounds. Forward Nneka Ogwumike nearly had a double-double, scoring 15 points and finishing with nine rebounds. Kristi Toliver scored 12 points. Bringing up the last Lynx vs. Sparks game is a sore subject for many Lynx fans.

Last Friday, Minnesota traveled to play LA, and things didn't go as well as the team had planned - that was obvious from the get-go. The Lynx trailed 50-24 at halftime, and although the team was only outscored by two points in the second half, the damage had already been done.

Monica Wright led the team with 14 points, while rookie Sugar Rodgers added 10. No Lynx starter played more than 19 minutes.

Toliver led the Sparks with 19 points, while Ogwumike added 18 points and eight rebounds. Harding scored 13 points, while playing a game-high 28 minutes.

The good news is that Minnesota was 3-0 against the Sparks at home last season. It's the road that troubles Minnesota, as the team has lost nine out of 10 games at the Staples Center. Good thing Friday's game will be in front of the #LosLynx fan base.

The last time Minnesota hosted LA was during the Western Conference Finals on Oct. 4 last season. Minnesota won 94-77 behind 20 points from Moore. The former No.1 pick also added five assists and five rebounds. Augustus scored 16 points, while Whalen added 12. Brunson notched another double-double, scoring 14 points and bringing in 10 rebounds.

Key matchup: Parker vs. McCarville

The numbers from the June 21 matchup aren't really all that indicative of what we could see on Friday night because of the games lopsided score. McCarville finished with seven points and three rebounds, while Parker had five points and eight rebounds.

Parker has two inches on McCarville, but as we've seen earlier this season, McCarville doesn't' let her lack of height affect her game. In two matchups against the 6'8 Brittney Griner, McCarville shut her down using her strength and scrappiness. Expect to see more of that on Friday night.

Parker, who is an early MVP candidate, is averaging 15.3 points to go along with 9.1 rebounds per game this season. Her best game of the season came back on June 1 against San Antonio when she scored 27 points and had 20 rebounds.

McCarville isn't quite as flashy as Parker. The former Golden Gopher is averaging 5.4 points along with 4.8 rebounds per game.

Her best game came against Griner and the Phoenix Mercury on June 19 when she scored 10 points, brought in five rebounds and dished out four assists.

What makes this matchup even more intriguing is the fact that head coach Cheryl Reeve has noted in practice that she'd like to get backup center Amber Harris more playing time. This may not have much to do with McCarville's play more than a scheme thing. Regardless, it could be tough for Parker to adjust from going against McCarville to the shot-blocking Harris.

Injury report

Both teams appear to be at full strength.


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