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Lynx accelerate 'storm surge' for third straight win

Minnesota forward Maya Moore (23) converted 10 of 21 shots against Seattle, but her maturity and versatility has left defenders clueless on how to stop her in recent games.
Minnesota forward Maya Moore (23) converted 10 of 21 shots against Seattle, but her maturity and versatility has left defenders clueless on how to stop her in recent games.
Matthew Fleegel

The Minnesota Lynx put on one of their rare beat-downs of the season, decimating the Seattle Storm for a 77-60 win at Target Center Sunday afternoon.

A pair of double-doubles highlighted Minnesota's (16-6) third straight win. Maya Moore got 26 points and 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season, and Devereaux Peters picked up her first with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Moore missed her first four shots of the game and had just six points in the first half, but her fearsome staple of exploding for a big quarter materialized in the third, hitting 6 of 8 shots for 16 points. Moore's burst helped the Lynx outscore the Storm (9-14) 30-16 for the period, turning a 34-28 halftime lead to an insurmountable 64-44 advantage.

"Our defensive energy and intensity helps me have fun and run the floor. I build off of that defensive momentum," she said.

"She used to be just a catch-and-shoot player, but now they're putting her in more pick-and-rolls, putting the ball on the floor. Her game is expanding," said Seattle head coach Brian Agler.

There was plenty of momentum for the Lynx. They out-rebounded the Storm 46-27, including a 12-6 mark in offensive rebounds in one of their finest efforts on the glass.

"I was just crashing. They weren't really boxing out, so it left a lot of space to get the boards," Peters said.

Where Minnesota excelled the most was establishing a breakneck pace that Seattle is usually uncomfortable with. Finding an answer to the more deliberate style the Storm imposed in the first three games resulted in a 16-2 supremacy in fast break points for the Lynx.

"Rebounds led to those," said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve. "I told the team we could have had 20 or more had we not botched some east plays. We wanted to play with pace and our defense allowed that."

Maintaining those margins has been somewhat problematic for the Lynx, who continue to navigate the season short-handed. Seimone Augustus missed her sixth straight game due to knee bursitis, and Rebekkah Brunson has not shown any signs of a return yet, but the team is bolstering their depth as bench players slowly understand Reeve's system. Tricia Liston is the most glowing example, averaging 6.2 points per game in the last four games following a stretch where she went scoreless in four straight games.

Camille Little led Seattle with 17 points, and Temeka Johnson added 12, but a scary scenario unfolded when Shekinna Stricklen suffered a head injury with 3:26 left in the second quarter. Stricklen hit her head on the court after drawing a charge on Minnesota's Tan White, and had to be taken off on a stretcher.

"Seeing her go out on the stretcher is kind of a blow. She's definitely a big part of our team and we missed her out there," Little said.

Stricklen suffered a strained neck and was released from a local hospital, allowing her to fly back with the team following Sunday's game.

Minnesota will host their annual Camp Day matinee against Tulsa on Wednesday, the final game before the All-Star break.

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