Tulsa's start agitated Maya Moore, and the Lynx abruptly shifted gears.
With a basket and a Lynx foul, the Tulsa Shock used a three-point play with 2 minutes, 51 seconds to go in the first quarter Sunday to take an eight-point lead, its biggest of the game.
In the huddle on Minnesota’s subsequent timeout, Maya Moore appeared upset.
“Any time a team goes on a run, it’s usually because our defense has put together successive missed defensive assignments,” Moore said after the Lynx’s 88-79 victory at Target Center. “We had to just lock in.”
She was not about to let another game get away from her. The Lynx had just been dealt their second loss of the season, 87-59, at the hands of Western Conference rival Los Angeles two days before.
A short break to remind themselves of that was all the Lynx needed to take control.
Moments after the timeout, Moore received a pass from Rebekkah Brunson, and from the left corner of the floor, sank a three-pointer while being fouled by former Lynx guard Candice Wiggins. Moore hit the ensuing free throw, and the Lynx closed the first quarter with a 10-2 run. The Shock (3-8) never led again.
Moore and Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 22 points each, while Lindsay Whalen chipped in with 19, including 11 on free throws. Tulsa’s Glory Johnson led all scorers with 24 points.
From the opening tipoff, the Shock looked like anything but a seven-loss team. Tulsa, which was led by Johnson’s 13 points in the first half, was sharp offensively in the first quarter, while the Lynx struggled to make shots early.
After Minnesota’s run, the teams remained close throughout the first half, which featured seven ties. But as the second quarter wore on, the Lynx found their stride offensively. Minnesota, which shot 53 percent from the floor, went into the break with a nine-point lead following Moore’s second three-pointer of the night.
Moore, who was held to two points on 1-for-6 shooting| Friday at Los Angeles, finished 7-for-12 from the floor, 3-for-6 from long range.
“I’m always trying to help my team. When I’m open, I shoot,” Moore said. “That’s a big part of my role, being a finisher for us. And I was just thankful the ball was going in tonight.”
Tulsa, which came into Sunday’s game the second-best three-point shooting team in the league, shot 9-for-28 from long range, including three each from Nicole Powell and Wiggins.
In Friday’s loss to the Sparks, no Lynx starter scored more than seven points, and those five players combined for only 17 total. On Sunday, starters scored 82 of the Lynx’s 89 points.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she was pleased to see her team’s go-to players learn from their mistakes and take big steps forward.
“I’ve got three great leaders in Whalen, Seimone and Brunson, and they all want our players to take those types of games personally to make sure that we handle our business in a way we can all be proud of,” Reeve said.
The Lynx extended their home winning streak to a franchise-record 12 games. It also was Minnesota’s 13th consecutive victory against the Shock, dating to the 2010 season.
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