TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Maya Moore rises to the occasion when the game is on the line.
The WNBA’s leading scorer had 40 points, including 13 in the final five minutes, as Minnesota won its ninth straight game with an 84-75 victory over Tulsa on Saturday night.
Moore’s scoring output was her 11th game of 30 points or more this season which sets a WNBA record for a single season, surpassing Diana Taurasi’s mark of 10 established in 2008.
After Tulsa’s Tiffany Jackson-Jones tied the game at 69 on a free throw with 5:25 to play, Moore put Minnesota (22-6) ahead to stay with a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:09 to remaining for her 30th point of the game.
She then added a pair of free throws with 4:13 to go for a five-point Lynx advantage. Tulsa (10-19) would get no closer than three points the rest of the way as Minnesota finished the game on a 15-6 run with Moore tallying all but two of her team’s points down the stretch.
“That was what I like to call ‘Maya time,” Minnesota head coach Crystal Reeve said of her standout’s late-game flourish.
“She is so hard to guard. She does so many things when a game is in the balance.”
Tulsa head coach Fred Williams agreed.
“She (Moore) is one of those players who just hits big shots at the end of the game,” he said.
Seimone Augustus added 22 points for Minnesota. The win was also Minnesota’s 10th straight win on the road against Tulsa. The Shock’s last home win against the Lynx was a 92-79 victory June 4, 2010.
Moore tallied 28 points in the second half. She had 15 points in the third quarter, including nine in a row during one stretch, to help Minnesota increase a one-point halftime advantage to five points entering the final period. Her baseline jumper in the final second of the quarter gave the Lynx a 60-55 advantage.
But Tulsa’s Skylar Diggins, who had only five points through three quarters, had eight straight points in just more than a minute, to bring Tulsa within 67-65 with 6:28 to go. The Shock finally tied the game at 69, the only tie of the contest, when Jackson-Jones connected on the second of two free throws.
Odyssey Sims, who ranks first among WNBA rookies in points, assists and steals paced Tulsa with 25 points, including four 3-pointers.
“She is exactly what we thought she would be when we watched her in college,” Reeve said of Sims. “She has the ‘it’ factor. She knows she belongs. She is competitive. She has confidence in what she is doing.”
Johnson added 17 points and 10 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the season. Diggins finished with 15 points, including 10 in the final quarter on her 24th birthday.
The loss dealt a severe blow to Tulsa’s chances for a post-season berth. The Shock is trying to catch Los Angeles for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Tulsa now has five games remaining, with four of those on the road.
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