Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore is raising the bar in the WNBA.
The Indiana Fever can only hope that having a healthy Tamika Catchings can help them slow down Moore.
Moore has led the visiting Lynx to a nine-game win streak that has featured some incredible efforts as she faces Catchings and the Fever on Tuesday night.
Moore looks like the odds-on favorite to win her first MVP, leading the WNBA with 24.7 points per game. She scored 13 of her 40 points in the final five minutes of Saturday’s 84-75 victory at Tulsa.
Moore became the first player in league history to post 11 30-point efforts in a season. She broke the record set in 2008 by Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, whose single-season scoring record of 25.3 points per game in 2006 is within reach.
"She is not running around trying to get 40 points and she is not running around just taking bad shots," coach Cheryl Reeve told the Lynx’s official website. "She is just really special. She’s one of the most special athletes this league has ever seen."
Moore posted the second-highest scoring effort in WNBA history with 48 points in a 112-108 double-overtime win over Atlanta on July 22. She can help Minnesota (22-6) register its first 10-game run since July 7-Aug. 6, 2013.
She scored 11 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Lynx to an 83-77 home victory over Indiana (13-15) on June 22. Catchings missed that contest with the back problems that plagued her at the beginning of the year.
Catchings has returned to average 15.1 points in 11 games, although consistency has been an issue for the 2011 league MVP.
She missed all 10 shots from the floor and scored eight points in Saturday’s 79-69 loss at Phoenix that capped a 2-3 road stretch.
”I shot terrible tonight and I wasn’t the only one on our team,” Catchings said. ”This is the end of our long road trip. I think when you look at just how we match up, this is the best team in the league right now."
There’s plenty of incentive for both teams.
The Lynx are 1 1/2 games behind the Mercury for the league’s best record while the Fever are one of five teams within 2 1/2 games of each other that are vying for three Eastern Conference playoff berths.
Minnesota has won six in a row in the regular season over Indiana, which in between captured the 2012 WNBA finals in four games for the franchise’s lone title.