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Moore cracks 30 again as Lynx break Sparks

Maya Moore demonstrated a foolproof method of generating publicity after the WNBA officially announced her as the leader in votes for the upcoming All-Star Game.

Minnesota guard Lindsay Whalen (13) made 6 of 10 attempts in the victory over Los Angeles.
Matthew Fleegel
Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore draws a foul against Los Angeles center Jantel Lavender on a drive to the basket.
Matthew Fleegel

The Minnesota Lynx forward scored 30 points in an 83-72 win over the Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday night at Target Center. 16 of those points came in the fourth quarter as Moore reached the 30-point mark for the seventh time this season, breaking a team record previously held by Seimone Augustus.

"Certain seasons are going to require different things. We don't have the depth that we had at this point last year. I have to be aggressive and take advantage of the minutes that I'm out there," she said.

Capitalizing on opportunities has been trickier for Moore as opponents are able to converge on her more easily with Minnesota's (14-6) short-handed situation. She was in a funk through the first three quarters, and her three-point shot was coming up uncharacteristically short. In the fourth, Moore made her last five shots of the game and converted all five of her free throws.

"The best thing that happened to her was the recognition that the three-ball wasn't happening. Maya got to the rim and was able to get some points in the paint," said Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve.

Ironically, Moore's last basket of the game was a three-pointer, pushing her to the 30-point threshold.

Rebounding was also broken for the Lynx, giving up a 42-33 edge against the Sparks (7-11). Los Angeles had 20 offensive rebounds, but a 33.8 percent mark in field goal shooting nullified most of their second chance looks. Minnesota made 54.1 percent of their shots.

"We wanted to keep pounding it in, we got fatigued, we started settling for jump shots," said Los Angeles head coach Carol Ross.

The Sparks were seemingly wearing down the Lynx through the first three quarters, using a 9-0 run to take a 59-56 lead to the final period. Although Los Angeles was corralling misses with ease, their interior defense was porous, giving Minnesota plenty of lanes to drive through. The Lynx broke a 62-62 tie midway through the fourth with a 15-4 run.

Lindsay Whalen had 16 points and 9 rebounds to help Minnesota's cause. Janel McCarville added 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Jantel Lavender led the Sparks with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Candace Parker scored 16 points, and Nneka Ogwumike put in 10 points and 14 rebounds. Despite the lofty numbers, Los Angeles continues to teeter on the playoff bubble, locked in a close fight with Seattle and Tulsa for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota will play on Thursday at Tulsa as they continue their search to step up on rebounding, an element that has lacked consistency in the absence of Rebekkah Brunson.

"People are in there, but we are a smaller team. If you don't have position, you're not going to get the ball," McCarville said.