Minneapolis, Minn. – The Lynx looked down the court to see a familiar gold uniform on Friday. The only difference from Tuesday was that it was the Sparks who came out on top 94-76, ending the Lynx’s unbeaten streak.
Kristi Toliver led Los Angeles with 25 points, including seven three-pointers, tying her career high. Nneka Ogwumike added 20 and Candace Parker, 14. Maya Moore was electric for Minnesota with 28 points, including six three-point shots. Jia Perkins added 13.
The two teams met for the first time three days before, both undefeated, and the Lynx edged their hosts in the last three seconds of the match up. On Minnesota’s home floor, in front of 13,003 screaming fans, the Sparks returned the favor and halted the league’s new season start winning streak record.
The rematch began much like the first game, with both teams trading the lead back and forth. However, a Lindsay Whalen foul on a Jelena Dubljevic jump shot would set up a three-point play for the Sparks in the second quarter. After Dubljevic hit the free throw, the Sparks went into halftime with a two-point lead.
Moore exploded in the third quarter, making three of her treys. Toliver hit two, and Parker, one, as both teams made a three-pointer on six straight possessions. Jantel Lavender scored eight of her 10 points for Los Angeles in the third period.
Whalen’s three-point play with under eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter pulled Minnesota within three, but the hosts went cold after that and only scored three more field goals.
“We showed our mental toughness,” Toliver said. “After the loss the other day, we wanted to play 40 more minutes right away.”
Moore acknowledged that Los Angeles was energetic throughout the game.
“I think the bounce in their step was greater than ours,” she said.
Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve also noted the Sparks performance.
“I thought they played with that chip on their shoulder and determination. Perhaps we had a big of a hangover,” Reeve said.
The teams don’t meet again until Sept. 6.
Sue Favor contributed to this report.