Lynx 88, Liberty 57
Maya Moore made sure the Minnesota Lynx's losing streak would come to an end.
Moore scored a season-high 28 points, including six 3-pointers, and the Lynx beat the New York Liberty 88-57 Sunday night to end a three-game slide.
Seimone Augustus and Janel McCarville each had 12 points as Minnesota (18-6), who moved one-half game ahead of Los Angeles atop the Western Conference standings.
''It's definitely satisfying, but it's only one game,'' said Moore, who tied a career high for 3s in a game. ''We need to stay on the climb.''
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she sensed through the All-Star's approach and body language that a big game could be forthcoming.
''She knew she needed to come up for us big time,'' Reeve said. ''She wants to play great every game and she strives for greatness, which is what makes her so good.''
Katie Smith and Alex Montgomery scored 11 points each to lead the Liberty (10-15), who were without leading scorer Cappie Pondexter due to a foot injury. New York lost for the third time in four games and dropped one game behind fourth-place Indiana for the last playoff position in the East.
''We have to get a win,'' Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. ''Cappie will hopefully be back this Friday (at Chicago), which will help us a lot.''
Minnesota had just 16 points in the paint, but made a season-high 11 3s, two nights after scoring just twice from beyond the arc in an 83-77 home loss to Tulsa. The Lynx entered the game averaging just 3.4 made 3s per game, second-worst in the league.
''We knew they were going to be available to us because they defend the paint so well,'' Reeve said. ''We knew you sunk them in and then you throw it out and it was going to be available to you.''
The Lynx used a 16-5 run - including 3s by Moore and Rachel Jarry - to take a 59-39 lead late in the third quarter.
Jarry, a rookie who did not play in six of the past eight games, nor the first half, had 11 third-quarter points, including three 3s. Monica Wright, Minnesota's usual first player off the bench, missed the game with a right quad contusion.
''The main thing is knowing my role,'' Jarry said. ''It's just about staying ready every day.''
Moore, named Western Conference Player of the Week last Monday, hit her last 3 with 4:06 to play to make it 81-54.
''Overall we competed to a point,'' Laimbeer said. ''I was a little disappointed they left Maya Moore in the game to try to get player of the week again when the game was out of control.''
Moore had 13 in first quarter, including three 3s, as the Lynx built a 29-16 lead. However, Minnesota started 2 for 13 from the field to start the second quarter, and the Liberty had a 9-0 run to pull to 33-29. A 10-2 Lynx surge over the final 3 minutes of the frame gave them a 43-34 halftime lead.
Minnesota had allowed 85 points per game and 46-percent shooting during its three-game losing streak; 75 points and 40 percent in its first 21 games. The Liberty shot just 31.3 percent, and scored just 23 second-half points for the second straight game.
''I thought our first half was all right,'' Smith said. ''The second, obviously they got on a roll.''