Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 9/16/12
The Indiana Fever missed an opportunity to cut their deficit in the Eastern Conference when last week's late rally against the Minnesota Lynx fell short. Given Minnesota's sterling record at the Target Center, it would appear even more difficult for the Fever to close that gap Monday night. Indiana, though, is one of the few teams to win on the Lynx's home floor over the last two seasons, and it will try to earn another victory in the finale of this home-and-home series. Indiana (20-10) could have gotten to within a half-game of first-place Connecticut in the East by beating Minnesota on Friday, but was edged 66-64 by the league's leading club. The Fever trailed by six points with 2:19 remaining but tied the game when Briann January, who scored a team-best 16 points, hit a layup with 23.5 seconds left. Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen, though, played the hero for her team as she banked in a shot with 1.6 seconds to go. The Lynx were coming off an 83-70 loss at Chicago that snapped an 11-game win streak, their longest single-season run in franchise history. "That was a good bounce-back game for us," Whalen said. "Although Indy's tough in Indy, we were able to stay with them." Indiana, the league's top 3-point shooting team at 40.4 percent, missed 16 of 18 from beyond the arc. "Give them credit. They're the defending champs for a reason," Fever guardforward Katie Douglas said. "We've just got to regroup. Obviously, we can get better and learn from this and be ready to go again out there in Minnesota." Indiana, 10-3 since the Olympic break, is seeking to get some momentum going into a visit to Connecticut on Wednesday. That will be a challenge as Minnesota (25-5) is 34-4 at the Target Center over the last two seasons, including last year's run to the WNBA title, and 15-1 there in 2012. Friday's victory helped the Lynx clinch home-court advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs. "Winning your home games is absolutely of paramount importance," coach Cheryl Reeve told the team's official website. The Fever dealt the Lynx one of those rare home defeats, 78-75 on June 26, 2011, and have prevailed in three consecutive visits. Douglas scored five of her team-best 22 points in the final 1:40 last year in Minnesota and Jeanette Pohlen converted a pair of late free throws. The Lynx enter this game having won six of nine overall matchups with Indiana and seven consecutive home games, but leading scorer Seimone Augustus could miss a fourth straight contest. Augustus, averaging 17.2 points, is dealing with a sprained right foot.
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