for this game

Fever-Lynx Preview

Aug 12, 2009 - 4:32 PM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Indiana (17-5) at Minnesota (11-11), 8:00 p.m. EDT

Considering the way the Indiana Fever played when they last met the Minnesota Lynx, it's hard to believe they have developed into the best team in the WNBA.

The Fever hope to avenge an embarrassing loss and end a three-game skid against the Lynx when they meet Thursday night at Target Center.

Indiana (17-5) suffered a 96-74 defeat to Minnesota on June 7 in its home opener. The Lynx (11-11) shot a team-record 63 percent from the field and never trailed, making 13 of their first 14 shots and leading by as many as 27 points.

That loss dropped the Fever to 0-2, but they haven't fallen at home since and have easily been the best team in the league. Indiana leads Connecticut by 5 1/2 games atop the Eastern Conference.

The Fever should feel even better about their chances Thursday since Minnesota no longer has high-scoring forward Seimone Augustus, who was lost for the season June 17 with a torn ACL. Augustus averaged 16.0 points during the three-game win streak over Indiana.

The Lynx are expecting a better effort from Indiana this time.

"All the teams now are good," rookie guard Renee Montgomery told Minnesota's official Web site. "Teams were finding themselves and transitioning with different players coming in and out (early in the season). Now everyone's good, we just have to get stops on defense."

Indiana will be trying to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since that 0-2 start. The Fever had their five-game win streak snapped Sunday with a 75-63 loss at Los Angeles.

Katie Douglas scored 16 points for the Fever while Tamika Catchings added 15, but Indiana dropped to 3-3 against Western Conference foes.

Minnesota is in third place in the West as it looks to reach the postseason for the first time in five years. The Lynx are seeking a split of a four-game homestand after losing 89-87 to San Antonio on Sunday.

Nicky Anosike led Minnesota with 24 points. The Lynx rallied from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the game before falling on Ann Wauters' jumper at the buzzer.

"I'm really proud of my team for the comeback that they made," coach Jennifer Gillom said. "They fought hard. There were a lot of positives in this game. When you see a lot of positives, it makes you feel good even if you lost."