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Whalen helps Lynx rout Sparks 88-64

Associated Press Los Angeles guard Lindsey Harding looks to the basket as Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen defends in the first half Friday in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As Lindsay Whalen goes, so often go the Minnesota Lynx.

Whalen scored 20 points in the Lynx’ 88-64 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

Seimone Augustus had 19 points, and Devereaux Peters added 14 points and nine rebounds to help the Lynx improve to 7-2 with their fifth win in six games.

“The type of defense we played and the approach to the game was championship basketball,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “They took great pride and came out and played in a way we can all be proud of.”

Candace Parker had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Sparks (5-3), who beat Minnesota by 28 points last Friday night in California. Kristi Toliver added 14 points.

The teams are scheduled to meet again Tuesday night at Staples Center.

It was the second straight strong outing for Whalen, who also had six assists, five rebounds and ran into at least three elbows, including one that snapped her head back. She entered the game averaging 12.6 points, 5.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds, and had 19 points, nine assists and three rebounds Sunday in a win over Tulsa.

“It's not like she is outperforming what she usually does,” said Maya Moore, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. “It's really comforting and motivating for us knowing that we have a point guard that is that aggressive, so we are going to get open as well. ... To be able to have as many points, rebounds and assists for a point guard it's really phenomenal.”

Reeve said she sleeps much better knowing Whalen is on her side.

“I think she told me, every quarter, ‘I got you coach. I got you,’” Reeve said. “She understood what was needed. When she comes out and plays like that it helps set the tone. Her pick at half court, to start the game, really set the tone for the rest of the way.”

Los Angeles controlled the opening tap, but Whalen quickly took the ball from Lindsey Harding and went in for an uncontested layup.