In her last WNBA game before a five-week break for the Olympics, Maya Moore reminded everyone why she will be on the U.S. women's basketball team in London.
The second-year forward scored a season-high 28 points, including a franchise-record 19 in one quarter, as the Lynx beat the Tulsa Shock 89-74 on Thursday in front of an announced "Camp Day" Target Center crowd of 15,318 -- the second largest in team history.
"We really wanted to send them off with smiles on their faces, not scowls," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said about Moore and her team's other two U.S. Olympians, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen.
Moore scored 10 consecutive points in the second quarter and turned a one-point deficit into a 40-31 lead for the Lynx (15-4). She had 26 points by halftime but scored only two more after the break before fouling out.
Rookie Glory Johnson had 30 points for the Shock (3-15).
In some ways, it was a typical game for the Lynx. They are the defending WNBA champions and in first place in the West, but they have appeared to be on cruise control at times. Other coaches say the Lynx have more talent than any other team, but it's not always visible. With the pre-Olympic schedule in the books, here's a first-half assessment of the Lynx:
Moore (B-): Many expected a breakthrough season, but her scoring average is only slightly higher than last season -- thanks to games against lowly Tulsa. Last year's Rookie of the Year is averaging 14.7 points this season. She is shooting better from three-point range (42.5 percent) and rarely misses free throws (46 of 51).
Whalen (B): The former Gophers star is in the middle of her third Lynx season. Whalen, a point guard, is always talking to Reeve, even in practice. She moves the ball well and scores when others are struggling. She has had two 20-point games and won another game on a last-second putback. She is at her best on the fast break or driving to the basket. But she isn't much of an outside threat and has trouble containing quicker guards.
Augustus (B+): The fun-loving, tattooed Augustus leads the Lynx in scoring at 16.5 points per game. She is making 52.5 percent of her three-pointers, ranking third among WNBA players with 30 or more attempts. Nagging injuries may have slowed her a bit; she was team's defensive stopper on top perimeter threats last season.
Rebekkah Brunson (B): The 6-2 forward is probably the best rebounder in the league for her size. She averages 8.5 rebounds per game and is especially effective on the offensive end. She is shooting 50.7 percent from the floor, just under a career best. Brunson adds toughness and grit to the starting five, but she has to improve her free-throw shooting, which has sunk to 62 percent.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin (B-): The 41-year-old center is closing in on 5,000 career points and 3,000 rebounds. She knows how to pace herself in a game and is a calming presence whatever the situation. She is averaging 8.9 points and shooting 51.9 percent, near her career best, as she has improved her outside shot. She doesn't move that well but knows where to be.
Bench (C+): Guard Monica Wright is the team's most improved player -- she has doubled her scoring to 9.8 points per game -- and Candice Wiggins is fiery and a three-point threat. Bu the rest of the reserves have had mixed results. Rookie Devereaux Peters shows potential at times. Amber Harris hasn't done much for a player picked fourth in the 2011 draft. Knee problems have hurt Jessica Adair. Erin Thorn rarely plays.
Coaching (A-): The Lynx have the league's best record, meaning Reeve has usually pressed the right buttons, especially during a 10-0 start. Players seem to understand their roles. She is always emphasizing balance, and nobody on the Lynx has received a weekly or monthly league award this season.
Overall (A-): The Lynx lead the league in points per game and field-goal and three-point accuracy, and they also hold opponents to the lowest shooting percentage.