Lynx-Sparks Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Lynx are already guaranteed to finish ahead of the Los Angeles Sparks in the Western Conference. They're still seeking the best record in the WNBA.

The Lynx will try to secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs by earning an eighth straight victory when they visit Los Angeles on Thursday night.

Minnesota (25-7) wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the West with a 73-60 victory in Seattle on Tuesday but couldn't secure the best record in the WNBA on Wednesday as East-leading Chicago rallied for a 70-68 win over Phoenix. The Lynx need one win in their final two games or a Sky loss in their final two to get the No. 1 overall seed. Minnesota will conclude the regular season with a visit from Chicago on Saturday.

"We accomplished one of our initial goals and now we have to continue to get better every day and keep working," point guard Lindsay Whalen told the team's website.

The Lynx will try to keep building momentum for the playoffs by earning their first win in Los Angeles this season. Minnesota has lost in its last four regular-season visits to the Staples Center but won 80-79 there Oct. 7 to finish off a two-game sweep in the West finals.

The Lynx have split this season's four meetings with the Sparks (22-10) but have lost by a combined 58 points in their two visits to Los Angeles.

Minnesota recorded an 83-74 victory over Los Angeles last Wednesday. Seimone Augustus had 23 points on 10-of-18 shooting but has since totaled 22 points in the team's back-to-back wins in Seattle.

Maya Moore added 20 points against Los Angeles and is averaging 21.7 in her last nine games. She had a team-leading 20 on 7-of-10 shooting Tuesday.

The Sparks capped a 2-2 road trip with Friday's 74-70 win over Tulsa to avoid a season-high third straight defeat. Candace Parker led the way with 20 points and nine rebounds, and she hit a key jumper with 1:16 remaining.

"Everybody game plans for her, so we try move it around a little bit early and then come back to her," coach Carol Ross said. "She's always available offensively for us, and she's always a great option. I thought she was really solid playing inside out."

Parker, averaging 21.2 points in her last six games, had 25 points and eight rebounds against Minnesota last week.

The Lynx need wins in their final two games to match the WNBA's best total over a three-year span, Los Angeles' 81 from 2000-02. Minnesota is already the third franchise to win 25 or more games in three consecutive seasons.

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