Minnesota Hands Sparks' First Loss

After winning their first 14 games that included three presea

son games, the Minnesota Lynx

showed the Sparks why there are two excellent teams in the WNBA w

hen they beat Los Angeles


-69 last Tuesday at the Staples Center.

The 9,112 fans that included summer camps throughout the Los An

geles area saw Lynx guard

Renee Montgomery hit a three point shot in the corner with

2.9 seconds left on the clock.

The Lynx, who are 13-0, exposed the 11-1 Sparks in several categ

ories. The Sparks were

outrebounded 42 to 29 and they gave up nine offensive rebound

s in the first half. The Sparks

also turned the ball over 17 times.

When you play against a quality opponent they bring out you

r weaknesses and that

s not all

bad because they need to be addressed,

said Sparks head coach Brian Agler after the loss.

Although the Sparks were defeated for the first time this year th

e coaches and players are still

looking for near perfection.

We are not where we want to be,

said Agler.

We need to be

better in our offensive execution. We need to find ways to

get Nneka (Ogwumike) more

opportunities. We need to make the defense work harder. There are a

lot of areas that we need

to improve on.

Ogwumike is the Sparks' leading scorer this season, averaging o

ver 17 points per game. Against

the Lynx she made two out of three shots and scored nine poin

ts. Kristi Toliver led the Sparks

with 20 points, Essence Carson scored 11 and Alana Beard h

ad 10.

We can learn from this loss and clean some things up,

said Beard.

We did not pay attention

to detail. The little things we can control. We are a good t

eam but we can be a great team. It all

depends on how great we want to be. I also think a game like

we had today is great for women

s basketball.

Jantel Lavender, one of the Sparks' most consistent players off t

he bench realizes the team

needs to be ready in the final minutes of a close game.

This was the first time this season we had to execute in the f

inal minutes of a game and we did

not do a god job," she said. "We did not get the ball to

the right people but we will be alright.

We just need to keep doing the things that we do well.

The Sparks' next game will be at Minnesota, today (Friday) at

5 p.m. and they return home for

a six-game home stand starting Sunday against Connecticut, Sunday

at 2 p.m. On Tuesday, June

28, they'll battle Dallas at 7 p.m. and next Thursday at 12:30

p.m. they play Atlanta, coached by

former Laker star Michael Cooper

They continue their home stand against New York on Sunday, Jul

y 3 at 2 p.m. They will face

Indiana on Wednesday July 6, at 7:30 p.m. and their last game o

f the home stand will be against

Washington on Sunday, July 10 at 4 p.m.


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