Uncasville, Conn. – Maya Moore scored a season-high 40 points — 38 after halftime — but it wasn’t enough Thursday night.
The Connecticut Sun edged the Lynx 93-89 in overtime at the Mohegan Sun Arena after a late meltdown by the visitors.
The Lynx took a 77-66 lead on Moore’s bank shot with 1 minute, 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But after that the Sun (5-13) outscored the defending WNBA champions 13-2 to force an extra period.
Alex Bentley, who finished with 24 points, made three three-pointers in that late run for Connecticut. The Sun’s Chiney Ogwumike then went coast-to-coast for a layup with 2.6 seconds left to tie the score 79-79.
The Lynx offense, meanwhile, stalled down the stretch with three turnovers. Their only points came on two free throws by Moore. Still, the Lynx (15-4) had a chance to win, but Lindsay Whalen missed a layup at the buzzer.
“We have to be smarter with the ball down the stretch and understand how to close games out consistently,” Moore said.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was brief and blunt with her postgame comments: “The game slipped away late.”
Asked if her team overlooked the last-place team in the East, Reeve said, “Absolutely not.”
In overtime, Camille Little’s three-pointer gave the Sun an 89-87 lead with 77 seconds left. It became a two-point game with the Sun ahead again when Moore made two free throws with 31.9 seconds to make it 91-89.
Bentley, who had seven points in overtime, answered with two free throws of her own with 7.8 seconds left. On the Lynx’s final possession, Moore’s three-point attempt missed.
The loss, especially how the fourth quarter ended, overshadowed a WNBA first by Whalen, the former Gophers star in her 13th season.
Needing four points to become the first player in league history with at least 5,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,500 rebounds, Whalen got two baskets early in the opening period. She scored at 2:02 off an offensive rebounds and on a layup at 3:57.
Whalen finished with 12 points and reserve forward Natasha Howard added 10.
The other three Lynx starters — Sylvia Fowles, Rebekkah Brunson and Jia Perkins — had six points apiece. Perkins started in place of Seimone Augustus, who is 22 points shy of 5,000 points in her career, but did not play due to a knee injury.
Moore, coming off a 33-point game on Tuesday against the Chicago Sky, was only 1-for-9 from the field in the first half, but she had 15 points in the third quarter, 16 points in the fourth and seven in overtime.
Asked to explain the difference between halves for Moore, Reeve said, “You will have to ask Maya.”
So someone did. “I kept playing and my teammates set great screens for me,” said Moore after making 13 of 27 shots. “I just tried to find the flow of the game better and then playing aggressively on defense to find my momentum on offense.”
It was her third career 40-plus game. Her career high is 48.
Before Thursday, the Lynx had won their past four trips to Connecticut. But Bentley and Ogwumike spoiled this visit.
Ogwumike had 21 points off the bench, making all eight of her shots from the field and all five of her free throws. She also grabbed seven rebounds