Lynx 94, Sparks 77

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 04, 2012
Maya Moore scored 20 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Los Angeles Sparks 94-77 Thursday night in the opener of the Western Conference finals. Seimone Augustus added 16 points for the defending champion Lynx. Candace Parker scored 25 points and Alana Beard had 16 for Los Angeles. Kristi Toliver, who came in averaging 26 points in the playoffs, was held to 12. Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Sunday in Los Angeles, where the Lynx are 4-21 all-time. The high-scoring affair should not have been a surprise after Minnesota averaged a WNBA-best 86 points during the regular season - just two more than Los Angeles. Minnesota outscored the Sparks 46-34 in the paint and held a 20-2 advantage in second-chance points to improve to 19-1 at home this season. The Lynx took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Sparks 32-16 for a 48-31 halftime lead. As part of a 14-2 run, the Lynx scored six points on the break and added another down low before a 3-pointer by Moore finished the surge. After DeLisha Milton-Jones missed a long jumper for the Sparks, Amber Harris scored her first postseason points with back-to-back layups for a 38-23 lead. A 3-pointer by Candice Wiggins, steal and layup by Monica Wright, and a 3-pointer by Augustus put the Lynx up 46-26. After Parker scored five straight points for the Sparks, Lindsay Whalen scored on a putback at the buzzer. Playing with a broken left ring finger and a bruised left wrist, Whalen finished with 12 points. Minnesota increased its lead to 24 in the third quarter before Parker, who is averaging 27.3 points in the postseason, began to find success down low. She scored eight points during a 16-5 run that got the Sparks within 66-53 late in the quarter. Los Angeles pulled to 73-63 midway through the fourth, but the Lynx answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Moore and Wright. Minnesota center Taj McWilliams-Franklin set a league record by playing in her 59th career playoff game.
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