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Lynx-Monarchs Preview

Sep 12, 2009 - 6:10 PM By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer

Minnesota (14-19) at Sacramento (11-22), 9:00 p.m. EDT

The Minnesota Lynx were hoping a late surge would help them reach the playoffs for the first time in five years. Getting routed in their last game put an abrupt end to those chances.

The Lynx will try to end the season on a positive note when they visit the last-place Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday night.

Minnesota (14-19) started 2009 in strong fashion, winning seven of 10 before dropping 15 of 20 to put its playoff chances in severe doubt. That rough stretch also was made even more difficult by the loss of leading scorer Seimone Augustus to a season-ending knee injury after six games.

The Lynx, though, rekindled those postseason hopes with a pair of home victories, beating Seattle 76-68 on Sept. 5 before a 75-72 win over Detroit on Wednesday. However, Friday's 90-61 defeat at Los Angeles cemented their fifth consecutive season without reaching the playoffs.

Candice Wiggins, second on the team with 13.3 points per game after posting 15.7 as a rookie last year, went 4 for 13 from the floor while missing all five 3-pointers against the Sparks.

Wiggins has struggled in three meetings against Sacramento (11-22) this season. She's shot 8 for 31 from the field and 3 for 12 from beyond the arc to average 10.0 points.

The Lynx have won two of three against the Monarchs, including 86-83 at Arco Arena on June 16 behind Augustus' 30 points.

Sacramento will miss the playoffs for the second time in 11 years and first since 2002. The Monarchs have lost two in a row, falling 80-71 to San Antonio on Thursday.

They will finish with their poorest record since going 8-22 in 1998 - the worst season in franchise history.

Nicole Powell was solid over the last two losses, averaging 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. The veteran forward, though, committed five turnovers against the Silver Stars.

Powell, who played in her first All-Star game this season, has been one of the few brights spots for the Monarchs, leading them with a career-high 16.4 points per game while also pulling down a personal-best 5.7 rebounds.

She's averaging 21.5 points on 50.1 percent shooting over the last eight games against Minnesota.

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