Moore, Lynx spoil Candace Parker's season debut
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Maya Moore scored 27 points and Lindsay Whalen had 24 to help the Minnesota Lynx hold off the Los Angeles Sparks 82-76 on Wednesday night, spoiling the season debut of two-time MVP Candace Parker.
Moore and Whalen scored Minnesota's final 12 points, including a 6-0 run after Los Angeles had pulled within 76-73 with 2:31 left.
Minnesota (13-4) avoided losing back-to-back home games for the first time since 2013, while Los Angeles (3-14) lost its eighth straight on the road.
Sylvia Fowles, playing in her first game for Minnesota after being acquired Monday from Chicago, added 11 points. Moore made four 3-pointers and scored 20 or more points for a franchise-record ninth straight game.
''I was a little bit anxious and nervous at the same time,'' Fowles said. ''I think the first quarter, I got a lot of the jitters out. The second quarter, I started getting more into a groove and then it was just downhill from there. I'm excited to play with this group of young women and it was fun tonight, so I really can't complain.''
Los Angeles' Jantel Lavender had 15 points and 10 rebounds for her 10th double-double. Parker, who rested during the first half of the season, had 12 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.
''I just treated it like I treated any other game,'' Parker said. ''Obviously a little bit more excited, it was a little bit tougher to take a pregame nap, but I'm excited to be back. It wasn't the outcome we expected, but we can build off this.''
Alana Beard made her first appearance for Los Angeles since June 14, missing 14 games with a foot injury. She made her first two shots during Los Angeles' 6-0 run to start the game and finished with eight points in 20 minutes. Parker scored her first points on a fastbreak layup with 5:05 left in the second quarter to cut Los Angeles' deficit to 31-25.
Fowles and Whalen combined to score Minnesota's first nine points of the second quarter to take a 31-18 lead. The Lynx held a 43-35 lead at halftime behind Whalen's 13 points and Moore's 11. Whalen returned after missing a game because of an eye injury. She was sporting goggles to protect the injury.
''I played with them overseas for a whole year and then they said chances are great to get hit again with the percentages,'' Whalen said. ''Well, I got hit again, so I'm probably just going to wear them.''
Los Angeles went on an 8-1 third-quarter run, all scored by Lavender and Parker, to get within 53-49. Moments later, Nneka Ogwumike's layup made it a one possession game, 56-54, for the first time since it was 14-13. But the Lynx closed on an 8-2 run, capped by Devereaux Peters' baseline jumper with 2 seconds left, for a 64-56 advantage.