MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen made sure the Minnesota Lynx secured home-court advantage throughout the WNBA playoffs.
Moore had 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Lynx beat the Chicago Sky 79-66 Saturday night in the final regular-season game for both teams. The Sky would have gotten the home-court advantage with a win.
Whalen added 23 points and Seimone Augustus had 14 for the Lynx (26-8), who have won eight of nine. Minnesota finished the season 15-2 at home. Rebekkah Brunson grabbed 10 rebounds.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done and definitely enjoying it tonight,” Moore said. “I think we’re anxious to get (the playoffs) going.”
They Lynx won the league crown in 2011 and lost to Indiana in the finals last year. They will face Seattle — a team they went 4-0 against this year — in the first round of the playoffs beginning Friday.
“Our record says we’re the best team in the league,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “No one else can say if they win their home games they win the WNBA championship.”
Sylvia Fowles led Chicago with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Elena Delle Donne had 14 points. The Sky (24-10) lost for just the second time in 11 games and will be the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Reaching the postseason for the first time in its eight-year history, Chicago will face either Indiana or Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Fever and Mystics have identical records entering their season finales Sunday.
“We’re still confident. We’re proud of what we accomplished this season, but we just couldn’t get it done tonight” said Sky guard Epiphanny Price, who finished with 10 points.
Courtney Vandersloot scored six points during an 11-4 run in the third quarter that got the Sky within six points, but Augustus made a long jumper and Moore and Whalen hit 3-pointers to give Minnesota a 67-53 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Whalen’s 3 was her first of the season.
“We knew what was at stake, we play that way every night,” Moore said. “I don’t think it’s anything different for us to play with a sense of urgency.”
Chicago got within 71-61 midway through the fourth, but Augustus scored four straight and Rachel Jarry hit a jumper to put the Lynx in front by 16.
“Obviously, it isn’t the end result we were looking for,” Delle Donne said. “We were able to make a run, but we couldn’t hold them off. They have some great players and some really good weapons that will step up at any point. … They were on tonight.”
Moore had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Lynx took a 22-19 lead after one quarter.
Whalen scored nine straight points early in the second quarter, including a fast-break layup and a layup off an inbounds pass — both on feeds from Moore — to give the Lynx a 35-22 cushion. Her layup with 2:11 left in the first half gave the Lynx a 45-30 lead, but Chicago scored the final four points of the quarter to get within 11.
“Chicago is a great team, they have a lot of fight,” Whalen said. “We just tried to get a good lead going into halftime.”
Back-to-back layups by Fowles got Chicago within 49-42 midway through the third quarter, but the Lynx countered with six straight points — two on a Whalen fast-break layup from Moore — to increase the lead to 13.
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