MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Lynx wanted to send a message to visiting teams about how tough it will be to beat them at home.
Maya Moore scored 25 of her 30 points in the first half to lead the Lynx to a 97-74 victory over the Seattle Storm on Saturday night. Moore shot 12 for 15 from the field to help Minnesota to its fifth win in six games.
“We did embrace it as a message game,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Particularly at the Target Center, we want to send those messages to every team that plays here. You’re going to have to play really well to come in here and beat us.”
“Minnesota’s the best team in the league,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “There’s no question.”
Despite the defeat, Seattle clinched a Western Conference playoff berth with San Antonio’s loss to Los Angeles.
Seimone Augustus had 16 points for Minnesota (22-7). Rookie Rachel Jarry had a career-high 14. Lindsay Whalen added 12 points and Monica Wright had 10.
Moore reached 30 points for the second time in her career, finishing five points short of her career best set Aug. 24 against Indiana.
The third-year forward is shooting 66 percent from the floor in her last three games, including 8 for 12 from the 3-point line.
“It’s always good to be confident on the offensive end,” Moore said. “Whenever the ball is going in like that it gets your team excited. I just want to make sure our offensive flow is the best it can be. If that means me scoring the ball, I’ll score the ball.”
Tina Thompson tied a season high with five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 18 points as the Storm (15-15) lost for the second time in seven games. Temeka Johnson had 16 points and Tanisha Wright added 11.
Sky clinch 1st in East
Sylvia Fowles scored 18 points to help the Chicago Sky (21-8) beat the Atlanta Dream 85-68 at Rosemont, Ill., and clinch home-court advantage through the Eastern Conference playoffs.