Playing against three of her former college teammates, Lynx rookie Maya Moore responded Saturday with her best game as a pro.
The 6-0 forward scored a season-high 26 points as the Lynx beat the Connecticut Sun 90-67 at Target Center in a matchup of the two second-place teams in the Western and Eastern conferences.
Both teams went into the game with 6-3 records.
The game was a back-and-forth tussle in the first half -- 10 ties, seven lead changes -- until the Lynx closed the third quarter with a 12-0 run to take an 18-point lead.
Seimone Augustus, who had 20 points, began the Lynx surge with a three-pointer. Moore scored the next seven points.
"They kicked our butt, especially in the third quarter," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said.
"It was awful," Sun point guard Renee Montgomery said.
Two succinct but accurate descriptions; the Lynx outscored the Sun 23-6 that quarter to go ahead 67-49.
"That's what I envisioned for 'Mone and Maya, just taking turns being able to score the ball," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.
Moore followed Augustus' three-pointer with another. Then she made a shot from the lane and scored on a fast-break layup. That's seven quick points on three trips downcourt.
Moore finished with six three-pointers, tying a league high this season. As a team the Lynx made 10 of 20 three-point attempts, paced by Moore's 6-for-9 efficiency.
Lynx veteran Rebekkah Brunson, who started the year with double-doubles in her first six games and was named the Western Conference's player of the month in June, got her seventh in the team's first game in July. She had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"We especially want to win at home, a really nice crowd [announced as 8,205]," Reeve said. "We are doing a good job of getting people here, and when we get them here, we want to make them really happy."
In their last home game, the Lynx didn't. They lost 78-75 to Indiana on June 26.
"We don't want to be hospitable here in Minneapolis," said Reeve, whose Lynx are 4-1 at home. "We want teams walking away going, 'We hate this place.'"
The Sun, who were within 44-43 at halftime, made only nine of 35 shots from the field in the second half, or 25.7 percent, in their fourth loss in five road games.
Sun rookie center Tina Charles and Montgomery, two of Moore's teammates at the University of Connecticut, came in averaging 19.8 and 18 points.
Charles finished with six points and eight rebounds, Montgomery with a team-high 14 points.
"It forced me to focus even more," Moore said, asked about facing them, "because I know how talented they are and how competitive and how good they can be. This was a game I just wanted to make sure I was mentally prepared. I felt good in warmups and practices leading up to the game. So I'm just happy with the results."
The victory moves the Lynx into a first-place tie in the West with San Antonio.