Video, notes and quotes: Sylvia Fowles and Candace Parker make their season debuts
- With the 82-76 win over the Los Angeles Sparks, the Lynx have now won 13 of the past 19 meetings overall and lead the season series 2-0. Minnesota moves to a league-best 13-4 on the season.
- After missing last Wednesday’s game due to an eye injury, Lindsay Whalen came out strong. She netted 24 points (8-for-15), marking her third 20+ outing this season, 53rd of her career. Whalen also dished out a team-high six assists. The Lynx are 0-3 when Whalen has had to sit out.
- Maya Moore extended her franchise-record streak of games with 20+ points to nine, finishing with game-high 27 points. She finished 9-for-22 from the floor, including 4-for-8 from three-point range. Moore also added seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. She entered the game averaging 25.6 points (47.8%), 8.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists in her previous eight games.
- The Sparks shot 56.4% (31-for-55) from the floor, marking the highest field goal percentage allowed by Minnesota in a win and the seventh highest overall. The previous high was Sacramento’s 54.5% on Aug. 28, 2009.
- The Lynx forced a season-high 22 turnovers for 21 points while Minnesota turned the ball over 12 times which converted into 11 points for the Sparks. The Lynx stole the ball a season-high 14 times. Those 14 steals tie the fourth-best total in club history and are the most in a regulation home game since swiping 15 vs. San Antonio on July 28, 2004. Minnesota had four players register three steals (Moore, Brunson, Fowles, Cruz).
- Candace Parker made her 2015 WNBA season debut, finishing the game with 12 points, a game-high nine assists and seven rebounds. Last season Parker led the Sparks, averaging 19.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 30 games played. She scored six double-doubles last season with two of them coming against Minnesota (24 pts, 11 rebs – 6/8/14; 16 pts, 11 rebs – 8/12/14). Overall, Parker averaged 18.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists through four games played in 2014 against the Minnesota Lynx.
- In her first game in a Lynx uniform, newly-acquired Sylvia Fowles netted 11 points (4-for-7 from the floor) and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes. In seven seasons with Chicago, she averaged 15.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.02 blocks over 186 games, shooting 58.5% from the field and 71.9% from the free throw line.
- Minnesota outrebounded the Sparks 26-25. The Lynx have now held the upper hand in five consecutive games and seven of their last eight. Los Angeles’ two offensive rebounds tie the fewest ever by a Lynx opponent, fourth time overall (twice by New York in 2001 and also by Phoenix last July 31).
- The game kicked off a three-games-in-four-nights stretch for the Lynx, their only such run of the season.
Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve
“Both teams offensively I thought were pretty good despite some of the new-ness. There were many possessions out there where multiple players didn’t know what the heck was going on. So, both teams kind of working through the new players that are in the fold now. For us, it was our defense, it was feast or famine – we either turned them over or they scored. It’s a really good team, they’re really good players. Obviously, you can’t look at their record, we talked to our players about that, it had nothing to do with their record – this is a really good basketball team. They shot way too high of a percentage, we clearly weren’t happy with that. Again, a little bit of new personnel kind of stuff, rotations weren’t what we wanted them to be, so keep working. The same way I’m sure LA is talking about, we just got to keep working.
“That’s what I told them, they closed the gap on us and we made plays, players do get in those situations, they make those plays. I thought Renee’s defense was really good and she was feisty the same way Cruz is feisty when you make the guard have to think, she got that push off and it was big. When they were able to run their stuff, they were getting quality shots, so that was a huge possession. That, and Maya steal half court was a huge possession.”
Minnesota Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen
On playing the Sparks…
“I know we have to play them a lot more this season, so they’re definitely going to be a team that’s going to continue to get better and play really well.”
On coming back from All Star break…
“It was good, it felt great, I was excited today for the game. I mean, you’re excited for every game, but missing the last game and then it was All Star break, I haven’t played for 10 or 11 days, so I was definitely a little anxious and excited and ready to play.”
On playing with goggles…
“I played with them overseas for a whole year and then they said chances are great to hit again with the percentages… and well, I got hit again, so I’m probably just going to wear them.”
Minnesota Lynx’s Sylvia Fowles
On her first game…
“I was a little bit anxious and nervous at the same time. I think the first quarter, I got a lot of the jitters out. The second quarter, I started getting more into a groove and then it was just downhill from there. I’m excited to play with this group of young women and it was fun tonight, so I really can’t complain.”
On playing 26 minutes…
“I didn’t even know I played 26 minutes, actually it felt good for the most part and it’s pretty much just getting back in the groove and making sure I know the plays and in the right place at the right time.”
“Yeah, I was tired, more so the lungs. As you guys know, I’ve been doing different workouts, so my workouts basically have been like riding, doing bands and stuff like that. I haven’t really been doing any court action besides getting up shots and that was about it, but tonight was a good test, I think I passed for the most part.”
Los Angeles Sparks head coach Brian Agler
On Candace’s return…
“I was sort of anxious to see how things were going to play out. We’ve only had three practices with Parker and with Alana Beard, who had only played two games at this point, so I thought it was a good, solid showing for us. We would liked to have done better and played better, especially down the stretch, but the pressure hurt us a little bit. I think we’re going to be moving in the right direction.”
On containing Fowles, Moore, Whalen…
“We had a hard time keeping them off the free-throw line. We turned the ball over where they converted some shots. I thought in the quarter court, we did pretty well defensively. That being said, there’s a long way we can go and still improve.”
On heading to Chicago…
“We’ll absorb this, we’ll think about it and watch the game and then we will start prepping for Chicago.”
Los Angeles Sparks’ Kristi Toliver
On Candace’s return…
“Honestly we weren’t focused on any of that. The main thing we were focusing on was kind of what we’ve been talking about during our break – we had time to reflect after the first half of the season and reset our goals and reorganize. We had a couple of really good practices before we got here. It’s really just all about competing and executing. It’s a little difficult when you have new pieces coming back in and out. It’s a good thing that we have healthy bodies again but it’s also a little bit of a struggle to reincorporate people and to build that chemistry, so it’s a matter of finding the balance and building it quickly.”
Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker
On her first game of the season…
“I just treated it like I treated any other game. Obviously a little bit more excited, it was a little bit tougher to take a pregame nap, but I’m excited to be back. It wasn’t the outcome we expected, but we can build off this.”
On her change of momentum…
“Well I had my legs back underneath me and felt more confident in my jump shot and scoring the basketball.”
On moving forward…
“We need to stop turning the ball over and we need to rebound. Those are the two keys that we can control.”