MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Seimone Augustus escaped a serious injury, which was the only scare for the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night.
The defending champion Lynx raced ahead by 33 points before coasting to a 98-69 victory over the Washington Mystics, getting 20 points in 21 minutes from Augustus.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist left the game midway through the third quarter after spraining her right ankle when she came down on a defender’s foot.
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“The initial shock was scary,” Augustus said. “But after (the trainer) re-taped it and gave me some meds I was fine.”
Maya Moore and Monica Wright scored 17 points each, Rebekkah Brunson added 11 and Lindsay Whalen chipped in 10 points and nine assists to help Minnesota (16-4) win its third straight following a three-game losing streak last month.
Monique Currie, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Crystal Langhorne each scored 12 points for the Eastern Conference-worst Mystics (4-16), who followed up an 18-point loss at Indiana on Thursday with their second-biggest defeat of the season.
“It’s tough to start the second half of the season on a back-to-back,” Washington coach Trudi Lacey said. “Two very good teams, and obviously Minnesota is very good and very deep.”
Minnesota led by just two midway through the first quarter, but from there looked nothing like a team that hadn’t played together in more than a month due to the Olympic break. Wright scored five points during the ensuing 18-2 run and the Lynx led by double figures the rest of the way.
Using suffocating defense, Minnesota held the Mystics to 37 percent shooting and scored a season-high 32 points off 19 Washington turnovers.
“I told our players it was really fun to watch,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ” It was everything I hoped it could be in that game coming back.”
The Lynx, paced by returning Olympians Augustus, Moore and Whalen, piled up 54 points in the paint and shot 51 percent from the floor.
“I think it really helped that Seimone, Lindsay and I were able to play together, be together, continue to build chemistry and just be on the court with each other,” Moore said. “I felt some USA moments there a little bit in transition. Then again, we were doing that before Team USA.”
Minnesota was in the midst of a 16-3 third-quarter run to make the game a blowout when Augustus came down awkwardly at the 4:59 mark. She had the ankle re-taped and could’ve returned, but wasn’t needed with the Lynx ahead by at least 24 points throughout the fourth quarter.
Frustration boiled over for Mystics center Michelle Snow, who received a pair of technical fouls with 4:58 left and was ejected.
Minnesota had a season-high 29 assists.
Augustus, Moore and Whalen, who helped the United States win Olympic gold for the fifth straight time at the London Games, showed off their medals before the game.