Moore fuels 89-74 Lynx win over Shock

Published 9:22 am Friday, July 13, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS — Maya Moore looked ready for the Olympics.

She made sure she left the Minnesota Lynx in good shape, too.

Moore scored a franchise-record 19 points in just the second quarter, leading the Lynx out of an early funk and onto an 89-74 victory over the Tulsa Shock on Thursday, their last game before the five-week Olympic break.

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“Teams are going to compete and fight as hard as they can. If we continue to push and push, hopefully we’ll wear them out and break them down, and that’s what we tried to do,” Moore said.

One of the Lynx’s three Team USA members, Moore matched her career high with 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. The second-year star shot 8 for 12 from the floor and 11 for 12 from the free-throw line. Seimone Augustus and Monica Wright each added 14 points.

“They’re so deep. With Maya, she’s the ‘X’ factor, because she moves around so well,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said, adding: “She’s just a complete player. To me, that’s the difference, what gives them that edge.”

Rookie Glory Johnson led the league-worst Shock with 30 points and 14 rebounds, both season highs for any Tulsa player. She was 14 for 15 from the foul line.

“One thing that we struggled on was our defense. It was kind of a lot of confusion out there on the floor,” Johnson said.

Moore had a lot to do with that. The Lynx finished the first half on a 25-7 spurt, with 17 points by Moore. She broke the Lynx mark for scoring in one period set previously by Candice Wiggins (2012) and Augustus (2006) with 17 points. Moore also set career highs in free throws made and attempted.

“She was just tremendous in that stretch where she scored 10 straight,” coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Moore, Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, the three Olympians, combined for 53 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists. Playing the power forward spot, her natural position, while Rebekkah Brunson is out with a strained left calf muscle, Moore again showed off those skills that made her the first overall pick in last year’s draft.

In helping the WNBA-leading Lynx (15-4) stop a three-game losing streak with two wins this week against the Shock (3-15), Moore totaled 52 points over her first consecutive 20-point performances as a pro.

Playing for the second time in three days, the Lynx and Shock traded their share of angry words and mild shoves. There were four technical fouls issued, two on Shock guard Temeka Johnson, who was ejected after the second one midway through the third quarter.

Johnson had her jump shot blocked by Wiggins with the score tied at 31 and 6:54 remaining in the first half, prompting a tussle for the ball and a double technical, one on each player. The Lynx argued that Wiggins wasn’t at fault to no avail, but they channeled their energy into breaking open the game with their Moore-fueled run to take a 49-33 lead at the intermission.

Wiggins swished a 3-pointer with 6:01 left to stretch the lead to 63-43, the Lynx’s largest of the afternoon.

“We’re feeling a little bit more confident about ourselves, especially our defense,” Augustus said.

The Lynx announced their attendance at 15,318, the second-largest crowd in their 14-year history. Their annual midweek matinee was filled with screaming kids from area recreation programs and day camps, coloring the arena with their group T-shirts. The atmosphere in London later this month will be just as raucous, though the voices at the Summer Games will be a lot deeper.

Reeve told her Olympians to enjoy the experience, bring back a gold medal — and avoid getting hurt.

“We really wanted to send them off with smiles on their faces, not scowls,” Reeve said.