MINNEAPOLIS -- Siemone Augustus scored 23 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx to a physical 83-74 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Maya Moore added 20 points for the Lynx, who pulled away in the second half to increase their lead over the Sparks in the standings to 2½ games. It was the fifth consecutive win for Minnesota, which beat the Sparks in the conference finals last season.
Candace Parker scored a game-high 25 points and Kristi Toliver had 14 as Los Angeles lost its second straight.
Trailing by as many as 16 in the second half, the Sparks put together a 13-3 run to pull to 74-68 with a minute remaining. But Augustus hit a long-range jumper and Moore -- the conference's player of the month for August -- drained four free throws to end the rally.
The teams have one meeting remaining next Thursday in Los Angeles. The home team has won 13 of the last 14 regular season meetings in the series.
DREAM 89, FEVER 80, OT
ATLANTA -- Angel McCoughtry scored 30 points and Erika de Souza added 17 points and 14 rebounds to help Atlanta clinch a playoff spot with an victory over Indiana.
Tamika Catchings finished with 22 points and Erlana Larkins had 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for Indiana (13-16), which has lost five of six.
McCoughtry, the WNBA's scoring leader, added nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals for the Dream (16-13), who have won two straight after dropping 12 of 17.
The WNBA defending champion Fever are trying to make the playoffs for the ninth straight year. Indiana is in fourth place in the East, 2½ games ahead of New York.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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