Lynx Top Sparks 88-77 On Augustus' Special Night





Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate

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After getting off to a slow start in their last few games, the Lynx came out with energy tonight against the Los Angeles Sparks, roaring ahead 15-6 over the game’s first four and a half minutes. After that, the Lynx lost the lead only once and cruised to an 88-77 victory to lift them four games above the Sparks and strengthen the first-place standing.

Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore had 23 points each and both had record-breaking games: Augustus became the new all-time franchise leading scorer and drained a career-high six 3-pointers. Moore collected seven steals on the night, a new franchise record for steals in a game.

Box Score LYNX BOXSCORE
Lynx vs. Sparks
The Lynx paired their offensive efforts with stifling defense, containing the Sparks’ go-to duo of Candace Parker and Kristi Toliver. Parker was held scoreless in the first half and finished with only six points, while Toliver made only a free throw in the first half and ended the night with five.

Stepping up in their places for L.A. were Alana Beard with 17 points and Jenna O'Hea with 15.

The Lynx led for most of the game, but they gained the 10-point separation they were looking for during the third quarter when they outscored the Sparks 25-18.

"Just a really fun game for us," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I thought our players, for the most part, really enjoyed themselves and competing in what's viewed as a really big game. I just like how hard we played and our execution of the game plan. We feel like there's still more that we can do to be better against L.A., but I thought, overall, pretty happy with the group as far as the big picture."

That big picture includes a Lynx team that, with eight regular-season games remaining, needs only four more wins to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference regardless of what the Sparks and Silver Stars do for the remainder of the season.

Tonight's win was Minnesota's ninth consecutive and tied a franchise record as their 14th home win of the season.

Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore

Aside from her 23 points and nine rebounds (four offensive) tonight, Maya Moore came out scrappy, collecting seven steals, obtaining a franchise record for steals in a game. Her 11 first-half points fueled the Lynx’s early run, and her five first-half steals matched a franchise record for steals in a half. Moore’s ability to find her way through bodies to snag loose balls and gain extra possessions for the Lynx was a key ingredient in tonight’s win.

"I thought Maya got to Candace Parker early in ball handling situations, and Maya was confident that she was going to be able to kind of knock the ball away from Candace in dribbling situations," Reeve said. "And then also, in guarding Milton-Jones, Maya was put in spots where she had to rotate. She just made great reads, and [she] played with great energy, whether it was rebounding or getting deflections and actually getting steals. So Maya understood the game plan, and she was a big part of that defensively, and she came through big for us."

Highlight of the Game

After Moore picked off a Sparks pass and gained control of the ball, she pushed it up to Augustus, who drained a contested three-pointer. Those three points put her over the top of the all-time franchise scoring record previously held by Katie Smith with a mark of 3,605 points, and Target Center fans were on their feet to congratulate her. After tonight’s game, Augustus has recorded 3,620 points in a Lynx uniform.

Maya's Postgame Interview

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"I was trying to stay focused, but it was amazing just to share this moment with the fans," Augustus said. "They've been great throughout my career, they've been very supportive. As far as I'm concerned, this is my second home. This is a place that has embraced me, and I'm proud to be able to continue to make them proud of me."

The Numbers Game

The Sparks outrebounded the Lynx tonight 36-33, but the Lynx pulled down 13 offensive boards to the Sparks' eight. ... The Lynx led in second-chance points 16-7. ... Tonight was the first night since June 28 that Toliver didn't scored in double figures, one of only six games this season.

Quotable

"[Maya] was just all over the place. Coach gave her a game plan tonight, as far as Candace Parker is like a guard/forward. She can just push the ball up the floor, so just trying to make sure we get back and try to get a deflection on the ball. And [Maya] was just like Catwoman. She was here, she was there, you know. She did an awesome job, and seven steals—that's amazing." —Seimone Augustus on Maya Moore's game

"While the game's going, we're just so focused on playing, but now that you do have a minute to think about it a little bit, it's so fitting, because Seimone is such a great scorer. And I have the privilege of watching it up-close every day in practice and every night for the games. I just love playing with her, love getting assists because of her. And she's got so much more career ahead of her too, so I'm just excited to be a part of it now when she broke the record and to see where she takes it." —Maya Moore on Seimone Augustus's record

Looking Ahead

The Lynx have one more at home Friday against Atlanta at 7 p.m. before setting out for a set of road games. They face San Antonio on Sunday at 2 p.m. and Chicago the following Tuesday at 7 p.m.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.

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