NEW YORK – The Lynx remained one of two unbeaten teams in the WNBA on Tuesday by beating the New York Liberty 79-69 at Madison Square Garden.
Forward Maya Moore, as she usually does, led Minnesota with 25 points and six rebounds. The Lynx are 6-0, the Los Angeles Sparks 5-0.
The Lynx built a 23-point lead in the second half before letting New York rally within six in the final two minutes. It was the second straight game the Lynx nearly blew a huge lead. Indiana, down by 24 last Friday, got withing two points late.
“It’s something we definitely are aware of and are working on,” Moore said. “Every team is going to make a run, and we can’t be as complacent with big leads.”
“One of the hardest things to coach through is when a team is up in double figures,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “You know the game isn’t over.”
The Lynx are four wins short of matching their own WNBA record for most consecutive victories to start the season, set in 2012. They also stopped a three-game losing skid to New York, winning at Madison Square Garden for the first time since 2010.
“We are just taking it one game at a time,” said Seimone Augustus, who added 13 points for Minnesota and passed Sheryl Swoopes for 16th place on the WNBA’s career scoring list with 4,876. “We are trying to get better every game.”
Minnesota built a 28-11 lead after the first quarter thanks to Moore, who had 11 points.
“Maya was great in the first quarter, and we knew they were going to try and deliver the first punch,” said the Liberty’s Tina Charles, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double-double in as many games.
New York (2-3) rallied within 31-25 in the second quarter with Moore on the bench. She subbed back in and the Lynx built a 15-point halftime lead.
Minnesota led by 23 in the second half before New York cut it to 73-67 on a three-point play by former Lynx Sugar Rodgers with just over 2 minutes left. Renee Montgomery answered with a pullup jumper and the Liberty could get no closer than six points thereafter. Montgomery finished with 10 points.
The Lynx shot 49.2 percent to the Liberty’s 40.4. The Lynx also had a 15-5 edge in steals.