Lynx vs. Mystics preview
The WNBA-best Minnesota Lynx seem to be hitting their stride with Maya Moore playing at an MVP level and fellow All-Star Seimone Augustus back in the lineup.
The Washington Mystics hope to have an answer after the pair burned them in last year’s season series.
The visiting Lynx continue their chase for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs as they go for a fourth straight win Sunday in the opener of a home-and-home set with Washington.
These teams haven’t met since June 2014, when Moore and Augustus combined for 39 points in Minnesota’s 75-65 home win. In the other meeting last season, Moore had 34 points and Augustus added 24 in an 89-77 victory at the Verizon Center.
Moore, second in the league with 21.5 points per game, is playing some of her best basketball heading into this matchup. She had 22 of her season-high 36 points in the second half Friday to key Minnesota’s rally from a 16-point deficit in an 84-82 win at Atlanta.
The reigning MVP also had 32 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in an 83-76 home win over San Antonio on Tuesday. She hasn’t had three consecutive 30-point performances since posting four straight to open the 2014 season.
Sylvia Fowles chipped in 19 points, eight rebounds and five blocks Friday when the Lynx (18-6) moved into position to tie a season high with a fourth win in a row.
They also welcomed back Augustus, who ranks second on the team with 14.7 points per game. The six-time All-Star should be able to shake off some rust after finishing with six points on 3-of-13 shooting after missing 10 games due to arthroscopic surgery on her right knee.
"I don’t think I’m really in game shape (yet)," Augustus said. "But it’s a process of getting back out there and getting back into the groove again."
The Lynx, who shoot a WNBA-best 45.3 percent from the field, have scored at least 82 points five times during their current 6-2 stretch. They lead the Western Conference by 2 1/2 games and hold a slim edge over New York for the best record overall.
The Mystics (13-9) are tied with Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the East. Since a season-high five-game winning streak to close July, they’ve alternated between wins and losses over their first five games this month.
Washington had a five-game home winning streak snapped in Tuesday’s 73-62 loss to Indiana.
"We’ll learn from it," said Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, who had a team-high 17 points. "We’ll come in and watch film."
Stefanie Dolson averages a team-high 12.5 points, but she’s been held to eight or fewer in four of her past five games. All-Star Emma Meesseman was scoreless in 17 minutes Tuesday.
The Mystics rank just ahead of the Lynx (71.5) and are only behind the Liberty at 71.3 points allowed per game.
The teams meet again Wednesday night at Target Center.