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Moore 'headbutts' to history as Lynx top Liberty

Minnesota Lynx forward Maya Moore delivered a headbutt, literally and figuratively, on her way to a piece of WNBA history Saturday night at Target Center.

Minnesota forward Maya Moore (23) started the game by hitting her first four three-pointers.
Matthew Fleegel
Minnesota forward Maya Moore etched WNBA history late in the fourth quarter on a drive to the lane to break the 30 point mark in four straight games.
Matthew Fleegel

Moore scored 30 points, becoming the first player in league history to reach that mark in four straight games, leading the Lynx to an 87-82 win over the New York Liberty.

"Obviously it's awesome to be scoring so much, but it's the way we are doing it," Moore said. "I just try to set the tone in the beginning."

The actual headbutt came near the end of the first quarter, when Moore and Seimone Augustus collided after racing for an offensive rebound. Moore needed five stitches to repair a gash near her right eye, while Augustus was checked for concussion symptoms. Both players returned by the end of the second quarter.

"My head was still throbbing a little bit. It was just a matter of mentally getting over it," Augustus said.

Minnesota (4-0) head coach Cheryl Reeve playfully labeled Moore a big "band-aid" as a nod to her scoring record, but displayed serious concerns about her team's offensive potential following the collision.

The Lynx made another fast start, building a 12-point early in the first quarter, which turned out to be their largest for the game. The Liberty (1-2) countered with a flourishing inside game through Tina Charles, who confounded Janel McCarville and took advantage of the less experienced Lynx posts. New York finished the game with a 15-4 advantage in second chance points and won the rebounding battle 37-28.

"I like to be known more for rebounding than anything else. That's just heart and going hard toward the basket," Charles said.

Minnesota was able to establish enough of a transition game to offset the rebounding deficiency, posting a 16-2 edge in fast break points. Ball security also favored the Lynx in the closing leg, committing just two turnovers in the second half. The contrasting trends led to a back-and-forth affair throughout much of the game as several attempts by the Lynx to pull away were quickly answered.

Ironically, it was an offensive rebound that clinched victory for Minnesota, when Janel McCarville corralled a Lindsay Whalen miss from the free throw line with 10.8 seconds to play.

Augustus finished with 18 points, and Whalen got a season-high 21 points. Another noteworthy effort came from rookie forward Asia Taylor, who Reeve put in as McCarville was struggling to implement the team's game plan. Taylor scored 10 points, creating her offense by penetrating to an opening in the lane.

"She's a slasher and driver. We missed some assignments, they took advantage of it," said New York head coach Bill Laimbeer.

Charles tallied 24 points and 14 rebounds, notching her second straight double-double, and Cappie Pondexter added 18 points.

The Liberty were pleased with their performance despite the loss, and Charles plays a large part in that philosophy, offering some younger talent to complement the number of long-time veterans on the team.

Charles also acknowledged Moore's accolade, a camaraderie from their days as teammates at the University of Connecticut.

"You want to be the person on her team when she has that zone. Anything's possible for Maya. I know her work ethic. She's a team player, she wants to win and she's very competitive," Charles said.

Minnesota goes back on the road for a Memorial Day tilt with Chicago. The two combatants are the only teams with undefeated records.

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