Lynx vs. Sparks preview

BY foxsports • July 29, 2015

After heading in completely different directions in the season's first half, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks both added star power during the All-Star break.

With Sylvia Fowles expected to start, the Lynx look to avoid rare back-to-back home losses Wednesday night when Candace Parker makes her season debut for the road winless Sparks.

Behind Olympians Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Asjha Jones and All-Star Rebekkah Brunson, Minnesota (12-4) rolled into the break with the WNBA's best record.

The Lynx, however, had bigger goals in mind Monday when they acquired Fowles, a two-time Olympian, three-time All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

"She's been one of the elite centers in the WNBA and will be a key addition to our championship caliber roster," Lynx executive vice president Roger Griffith told the team's official website.

Fowles has averaged 17.1 points and 10.5 rebounds over her last five seasons, but was down to 13.4 and 10.2 in 2014 while being limited to 20 games because of injuries. She sat out the first half this year after requesting a trade from Chicago in the offseason.

"Coming to Minnesota and seeing what they have already established, and how hungry they are to get back to the championship and win, that pretty much set everything apart," Fowles said Tuesday at her introductory press conference.

Minnesota looks to bounce back after its four-game winning streak ended in last Wednesday's 78-77 overtime home loss to Connecticut. Moore had 25 points, while Brunson added 14 and 15 boards.

Now the Lynx are likely to have Whalen back after she missed the contest due to an eye injury.

Moore has scored 20 or more in a franchise-record eight straight games, averaging 25.6 over that span. She also had 30 points Saturday en route to All-Star Game MVP honors.

Moore scored 22 last month when Minnesota shot 52.6 percent in a 67-52 road win over the Sparks. She'll try to help the team avoid its first consecutive home defeats since August 2013.

Prior to the season, Parker said she would miss an undetermined number of games until she was completely healthy after leading the Sparks (3-13) in scoring (19.4) and assists (4.3) in 2014.

Now ready to return, the two-time MVP will try to help turn things around for a league-worst Los Angeles team that has dropped each of its seven road games.

"Candace has been an influential part of the Sparks for several years and a big part of its success," coach Brian Agler told the team's official website. "She has been an All-Star and an MVP, and we are sure she will influence great play by the Sparks in the future."

The Sparks couldn't build on July 21's impressive 70-65 home win over Phoenix, falling 59-53 to visiting New York the following night. Kristi Toliver finished with a team-high 16 points.

Los Angeles held the Liberty to 25.8 percent shooting but had 12 free-throw attempts compared to New York's 34. Nneka Ogwumike, averaging a team-high 16.8 points, hopes to get back on track after scoring a season-low six on 2-of-9 shooting.

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