Lynx-Stars Preview

The Associated Press

Maya Moore is taking the Minnesota Lynx's two-game skid in stride, remaining confident that the reigning WNBA champions will having things figured out before the playoffs begin.

Minnesota looks to avoid its longest losing streak of the season Friday night by winning a ninth straight meeting with the host San Antonio Stars, who can clinch a playoff spot with a victory.

The Lynx (24-8) had won 11 straight before falling 82-80 to Western Conference-leading Phoenix on Saturday. They then lost 71-63 to Los Angeles on Tuesday as Moore was the only member of her team to score in double figures with 20 points.

Minnesota is locked into the No. 2 seed in the West, and Moore isn't fretting over the recent adversity.

''I'm not concerned about it snowballing because we're in control of that,'' she said. ''I think we're absolutely going to respond. The good thing is that for us, it's the small things. We're not having problems with anything major. We've just got to tighten some things up, come together and feel the sense of urgency.''

The Lynx have had trouble in the final minutes during their skid. Phoenix's Diana Taurasi hit a bucket with 2.9 seconds left Saturday, and Minnesota held a one-point edge with two minutes to go Tuesday before the Sparks finished on a 9-0 run.

Coach Cheryl Reeve knows her club is in for another tough test in this contest before finishing the regular season against Tulsa the following day.

"San Antonio is going to be equally as hungry," Reeve said. "We've got to figure out the way we want to end this thing."

The Stars (14-18) ended a four-game losing streak with Sunday's 82-76 win over Los Angeles, pulling within one game of the Sparks for third place and a first-round playoff matchup with the Lynx.

A win or a Seattle loss to Los Angeles later Friday would put San Antonio in the playoffs.

''I think we got a little bit of a monkey off our back after that four-game losing streak,'' said guard Kayla McBride, who finished with 21 points. ''I don't think we were playing well consistently (during the streak). That's what we need to be all the time. That's the type of team we are. We're very team oriented. We don't have superstars like that. We have to come in and play together."

The Stars rank 11th in the 12-team league with an average rebounding differential of minus-2.97, but they outrebounded the Sparks 40-30 as Jayne Appel tied a franchise record with 20.

''Coach (Dan Hughes) told us at the beginning of the game, he challenged us to get every rebound,'' Appel said. ''The first one, the second one, the third one. It was definitely a focus from the beginning of the game for us.''

Minnesota has won the first four meetings with San Antonio this season, including an 88-78 victory in the most recent one July 25.

This contest is the final regular-season home game for veteran guard Becky Hammon before she becomes an assistant coach for the NBA's Spurs.