The Lynx battled the Los Angeles Sparks to an 84-84 tie through four quarters Sunday before an announced crowd of 9,433 at Target Center, a lower-bowl sellout. But if a team doesn't score in the five-minute overtime, it's difficult to prevail.
Lisa Leslie, a 6-5 center, made an 18-footer on the Sparks' first possession in the extra period, and those two points alone would have sufficed.
Los Angeles, the preseason WNBA title favorite, outscored the Lynx 8-0 in overtime and pulled away to a 92-84 victory. The three Olympians on the Sparks' front line combined for 64 points.
Leslie, a three-time gold medal winner, had 23 points, as did 6-4 rookie forward Candace Parker, including 20 in the first half on 9-for-11 shooting. DeLisha Milton-Jones, a 6-1 forward, added 18 points.
"They have three Olympians, we have one, [and] our second-leading scorer [Candice Wiggins] was out," Lynx coach Don Zierden said.
Wiggins missed her second game in a row after suffering a lower-back bruise in a victory Thursday at Indiana. Charde Houston, who suffered a knee injury in the same game, did play after being out one game and had 15 points.
Except for the deflating outcome, the atmosphere in the arena on First Avenue was as festive as it gets in the WNBA.
Hundreds were lined up before the doors opened up one hour before the tipoff.
Lynx guard Seimone Augustus, who needed 19 points for 2,000, reached that milestone on a 15-foot jumper with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. The ball bounced around on the rim and fell in to tie the score at 56-56.
Augustus, a third-year pro, needed only 93 games to score 2,000 points. Only Cynthia Cooper of Houston did it quicker -- in 90 games.
Augustus finished with a game-high 29 points but, with the scored tied, missed a long two-pointer just before the buzzer at the end of the fourth quarter.
In overtime, the Lynx were 0-for-6 and committed four turnovers. Augustus missed three of those shots.
The loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Lynx (13-13) and kept them from passing the fourth-place Sparks (15-12) in the Western Conference standings.
It was a physical game, with 47 fouls called, but when it ended Augustus hugged each of her three teammates on the U.S. team.
A feel-good postgame ceremony followed during which Augustus was presented with a banner -- signed by hundreds of fans -- that read "Good luck Seimone Augustus. Bring home the gold."
She was clearly touched and suggested she would find a place to hang it: "I'm in the process of remodeling my house. I guess I will have to make my walls a little bigger and longer."
The Lynx are off now until Aug. 30, when they play Washington at home in the first of eight games after the Olympic break.
"I think we can make that [playoff] push," Augustus said. "It's going to be difficult, because everybody is going to be trying to make that push toward the end. But it's possible."
Up next: vs. Washington 7 p.m. Aug. 30 Target Center (106.1-FM)