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Sparks lose to Lynx, spoiling Seimone Augustus’ return to Minnesota

Sparks guard Kristi Toliver handles the ball during a game in May 2021.
Guard Kristi Toliver, pictured last month, had 13 points and five assists for the Sparks in their 80-64 road loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Saturday night.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Crystal Dangerfield was four for five from three-point range and finished with 16 points, and Minnesota beat the Sparks 80-64 on Saturday night, spoiling the return of Lynx great — and current Sparks assistant coach — Seimone Augustus.

The Lynx announced earlier Saturday that the franchise will retire the jersey numbers of both Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson during the 2022 season. Brunson’s No. 32 and Augustus’ No. 33 will be the second and third numbers officially retired in franchise history, joining Lindsay Whalen’s No. 13.

Augustus returned to Minnesota for the first time since announcing her retirement in May. The eight-time All-Star spent 14 of her 15 WNBA seasons with the Lynx, with whom she won four league titles, before playing last season with the Sparks.

The first overall pick in the 2006 WNBA draft is Minnesota’s all-time scoring leader with 5,881 points and also ranks first in franchise history in regular-season games played (370), games started (365) and minutes played (10,917).

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Augustus retired 10th in league scoring with 6,005 points. She held career averages of 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists. She also earned three Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Dangerfield made back-to-back three-pointers in a tiebreaking 10-0 run to close the first quarter and open the second, and her three with 10.2 seconds left in the second quarter made it 49-35 at halftime. The Lynx did not trail the rest of the way.

The Sparks used a 12-0 run to tie it at 54-all on a jumper by Te’a Cooper with 1:54 left in the third quarter, and her three-pointer less than a minute later made it 57-57, but Rachel Banham answered each time with a three-pointer.

Highlights from the Sparks’ 80-64 road loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Saturday night.

Sylvia Fowles had 15 points, nine rebounds, a career-high five steals and four blocks and Banham scored 12 points, making four of four from behind the arc, for Minnesota (4-5).

Cooper led the Sparks (4-5), who have lost two consecutive games, with 17 points. Amanda Zahui B. added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Kristi Toliver had 13 points and five assists.

The Sparks shot just 32.9% (23 for 70) from the field, including eight for 23 (34.8%) from three-point range.

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Minnesota’s Aerial Powers, who returned from a five-game absence because of a hamstring injury, appeared to dislocate her thumb late in the first half. She finished the second quarter and played about five minutes in the third before leaving the game for good.


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