Shock-Lynx Preview


After dropping back-to-back games for the first time this season, the WNBA-leading Minnesota Lynx find themselves in an unfamiliar situation.

A matchup with the league-worst Tulsa Shock, though, could prove comforting.

With center Janel McCarville's status still unclear, the Lynx go for a 15th consecutive victory over the visiting Shock on Friday night.

After winning 10 straight and 18 in a row at home, the Lynx (17-5) were stunned 79-75 by Washington at the Target Center last Thursday. Minnesota had its hands full again Sunday at Eastern Conference-leading Chicago, falling 94-86 in overtime.

Seimone Augustus scored a season-high 26 points for the Lynx, who made all 17 of their free throws. The Sky, though, went 31 for 33 from the foul line.

"Obviously the two games that we've lost haven't gone our way," said McCarville, who missed both contests with a concussion. "We're looking to get back in the swing of things, trying to get back (to) our winning ways, and it starts in practice. Luckily we got a couple days before Tulsa to get back and prepare, and focus on the things that need to improve."

McCarville's absence down low has proved costly for Minnesota, which has allowed 38 points in the paint in each of the last two games. The Lynx were also outrebounded 44-24 by the Mystics.

"We understand we lost two in a row. People are angry about it, upset about it, and they're kind of using it to build something new," McCarville added. "We're taking it one game at a time. ... We're just focused on Friday. We know Tulsa's coming in, they got a strong inside presence with (Elizabeth) Cambage and (Glory) Johnson, so that's all we're really focused on."

Even if McCarville can't go, the Lynx still figure to have an edge over the Shock (7-17). Minnesota has taken the first three meetings this season, most recently winning 86-75 at Tulsa on July 13 behind a season-high 25 points from Lindsay Whalen and 22 from Maya Moore.

The Shock enter the weekend hoping to avoid an 0-4 road trip after suffering back-to-back losses to Phoenix. While Tulsa stayed close in a 70-67 defeat last Friday, it was blown out 77-56 two days later.

Johnson, leading the team with 16.0 points per game, was held out after hitting the floor hard in the first of those defeats.

"I just thought we really got tentative," said coach Gary Kloppenburg, whose team shot 27.5 percent. "We really weren't going anywhere. ... We just were not very aggressive, so I think they put us on our heels and I just didn't feel like we responded at all."

Cambage and rookie Skylar Diggins each scored 19 points Sunday, but they were the only Tulsa players to reach double figures.

"You just want to finish with a sense of pride," Diggins said. "You want to go down swinging."

The Shock are 2-11 as the visiting team.