Lynx-Sparks Preview

The Associated Press

Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve expressed her displeasure with the way the Lynx faltered down the stretch in their first loss.

Now she's hoping her club can bounce back to end their ongoing struggles against the Sparks in Los Angeles.

The defending champion Lynx will try to snap a five-game regular-season losing streak at Staples Center on Sunday when they resume their longest road swing of the season.

After getting out to a 7-0 start while extending its winning streak to 15 games including last season's playoff run, Minnesota stumbled for the first time in Friday's 65-62 loss at Seattle.

The Lynx came in averaging a league-best 87.1 points, but could only manage 22 second-half points en route to their lowest scoring output of the season. They missed 21 of their last 30 shots, splitting the first two on a four-game trip.

''It's going to be hard to beat any team in this league scoring 22 points in a half,'' Reeve said. ''When the going got tough for us, we were no-shows tonight, which is not characteristic of our team. They wanted to win possessions more than we did.''

The Lynx could have a difficult time getting back on track since they've lost by an average of 16.2 points since their last regular-season road win over the Sparks (3-3) on Aug. 7, 2011. They've dropped 11 of the last 12 regular-season meetings at Staples.

Star forward Maya Moore totaled 26 points on 11-of-32 shooting in the three meetings in Los Angeles last season, while All-Star guard Seimone Augustus had a combined 39 while shooting 15 of 40.

Moore and Augustus will try to regroup after both had season lows with 12 points on a combined 11-of-27 shooting Friday. Moore entered the contest averaging a WNBA-leading 27.6 points, while Augustus was scoring 19.9 per game.

Candace Parker finished with 25 points or more twice while helping the Sparks take three of five in the 2013 season series. The reigning league MVP is averaging a team-high 21.3 points this season, but was forced into a reserve role in Friday's 102-88 win at Chicago because of an ankle injury she suffered in the previous contest.

''I was just trying to protect her early," coach Carol Ross said.

Parker still made a significant impact with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as Los Angeles snapped a two-game losing streak by shooting a season-best 55.8 percent.

''I think we can continue this," Parker said. "This is just what we're capable of. Let's not make this the outlier game. Let's make this what we do and be consistent.''

Nneka Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver finished with 18 points apiece for the Sparks, who set franchise records for field goals made (43) and assists (31).

Ogwumike scored 18.3 per game in the three home wins versus Minnesota last season, while Toliver averaged 17.3.

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