Maya Moore is playing her best basketball as a pro.
The second-year Lynx forward put on another display of skill and athleticism on Friday as the Lynx beat Seattle 78-70 in the opening game of their best-of-three Western Conference semifinal series.
* 16 points, third on team, four behind leader Lindsay Whalen
* seven rebounds, second on the team behind Rebekkah Brunson's 11
* five assists, second on team, one behind Whalen
"I have watched [Maya] play a lot since the Olympics," Seattle coach Brian Agler said. "And I felt like she was playing as well as anyone in the league in the second half of the season.
"She put herself in the conversation of being [league] MVP, whether it was the Olympics or her adjusting to our league. She has really taken a step forward. She has hit some big shots for them. A lot of times when they go on their runs her late in the season, it's either from getting multiple offensive boards or her hitting a big shot in the clutch.
"She is difficult to defend and she can play multiple positions. She is very valuable to their team because they can play small and put her at the four."
* Made three-pointer to open the game. Lynx fans could quickly sit down. Tradition is they stand until the hometown team scores.
* Her three-pointer at buzzer, signaling end of first quarter, gives Lynx 18-15 lead
* Early in the third quarter, Moore misses a three-point shot. But near midcourt she steals a pass made by Tanisha Wright, then throws the ball over a Storm player to Lindsay Whalen, running ahead of everyone to the Seattle basket. Whalen has an easy layup.
"Yeah, it was a huge play," Whalen said. "I think they took a timeout right after that. It was a momentum play. Those are what the playoffs are all about, making those plays. If you get five people on the court who was willing to sacrifice their body or get a loose ball like that, good things can happen.
"Maya is definitely one to go make the hustle play and do whatever it takes. I knew in that play that I just wanted to run as fast as I could to the other end. I was just hoping she was able to get up over the defender and she made a perfect pass."
* With 3.9 seconds left, Katie Smith of Seattle is driving to the basket and her short layup is blocked by Moore. She rises high and swats the ball emphatically. The crowd erupts.
The Lynx held Seattle to 39.7 percent shooting. During the regular season, 17 opponents shot under 40 percent against the Lynx -- a league best -- and Minnesota was 17-0 in those games. Now it's 18-0.
Reeve was not pleased with the 17 fastbreak points that the Storm had. It tied their second highest total of the year. ... The Lynx were first in the WNBA in transition points with 14.5 per game, Seattle 11th with 8.1
The Lynx had a 12-point lead with 2:38 left in the thid quarter, but Seattle rallied and got within six points three times late in the fourth quarter. "We've got to have that focus where, when we don't score, they don't score," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "That's what let them back in. A string of shots and then the barrage of 'threes' they made."
There was a string of 10 possessions early in the second quarter when neither team scored. The Lynx missed three shots and had three turnovers. The Storm missed five shots, three on one possession, and had two turnovers. One of the turnovers on each side was for a shot clock violation.
LITTLE PLAYS OF NOTE
Early in the third quarter, Seattle center Lauren Jackson made a jumper from the side, but she released the shot a split second after the shot clock went off. The basket didn't count and she had only one point in the second half to finish with 12.