UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Maya Moore received a warm ovation in her return to Connecticut, and then she helped the Lynx coast to another victory. But the WNBA champions’ next game figures to be a bigger challenge.
Moore had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists to help the Lynx to their seventh consecutive victory, this one 76-65 over the Connecticut Sun on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena.
It was the second game in a row the Lynx had their entire team available. Rebekkah Brunson missed the first 24 games after knee surgery. Seimone Augustus returned Friday after being out eight games because of a knee injury.
“There is no question we have had more struggles than other teams in the league over the past season with injuries and other aspects that have made our season harder than usual,” said Moore, the former UConn star who led the Huskies to two national titles. “Now that we have overcome some of those obstacles — and we are not where we want to be yet — but we have everything that we need to get there now that everyone is healthy and locked in.
“I like having the cards in our hands now, and it is up to us.”
Added Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve: “It’s been nice having the depth that we have. … We’ve had a lot to be proud of. There’s a lot of people who could’ve handled it differently and felt sorry for ourselves. Maya has been terrific, as you guys know, in this run. [Lindsay] Whalen has been really, really good and above her [scoring] average.”
Moore, two games removed from her club-record 48-point performance against Atlanta, shot only 6-for-17 from the floor. Still, she and the Lynx did enough Sunday to beat the Sun, which shot 32.9 percent from the floor and lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Lynx (20-6) might be hot, but there’s one WNBA team that’s been hotter: the Phoenix Mercury, their next opponent, on Thursday night at Target Center. The Mercury (21-3) beat New York 78-63 on Saturday night for its 15th victory in a row, tying the second-longest winning streak in WNBA history. Phoenix, which also has a home game Tuesday against Los Angeles, is three victories short of the Sparks’ league record of 18 set in 2001.
Brunson had nine points and 10 rebounds, and Janel McCarville had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Lynx, who became the fourth team in WNBA history to record four consecutive 20-victory seasons.
The Lynx led for all but 47 seconds in the first quarter. Tan White’s three-pointer gave them a 17-16 lead with 3 minutes, 8 seconds left and they never relinquished it. They led 39-28 at halftime and maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half.