Lynx 88, Sparks 77
Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus scored 23 points apiece to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 88-77 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night.
Minnesota scored 29 points off 20 turnovers, an effort led by Moore. The second-year forward matched a franchise record with five first-half steals and finished with a career-high seven. She also grabbed nine rebounds and kept several more possessions alive with hustle plays.
''She was like Catwoman,'' Augustus said. ''She was here, she was there; she did an awesome job. Seven steals - that was amazing.''
Augustus, meanwhile, set a career high with six 3-pointers. Her third of the night earned the 2006 No. 1 overall pick the top spot on the Lynx career scoring list, surpassing Katie Smith's 3,605 points with 4:11 left in the second quarter.
''We needed them,'' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said of the 3s. ''Her ability to shake a defender is just really impressive. I don't think the Timberwolves would mind having her.''
Lindsay Whalen added 12 points and Candice Wiggins had 10 for the first-place Lynx, who extended their lead in the Western Conference to three games over the Sparks. With eight games remaining, Minnesota needs only four more victories to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West regardless of what Los Angeles (19-9) and San Antonio (17-9) do the rest of the way.
The Lynx (22-4) won their ninth consecutive game and tied a franchise record with their 14th home win of the season.
Alana Beard scored 17 points and Jenna O'Hea added 15 for the Sparks, who matched a season high with their third straight loss.
Sparks leading scorer Candace Parker was shut out in the first half and finished with just six points, while second-leading scorer Kristi Toliver managed only five. The two entered the game with a combined average of 36.1 points.
''They did a great job of making us do things we didn't want to do,'' Beard said. ''But at the same time we did a lot of things that were in our control in terms of turnovers and forced shots.''