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Mystics-Lynx Preview

8/29/2011

After locking up the top spot in the Western Conference, rookie sensation Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx have just one more regular-season goal to attain.

With a win over the Washington Mystics and some help Tuesday night, the Lynx can secure the league's best record and home-court advantage throughout the WNBA Finals.

Seimone Augustus scored 20 points and Moore added 19 as Minnesota (23-6) posted its fifth straight victory, 72-61 over San Antonio on Sunday. Moore, selected No. 1 overall in the WNBA draft, has proven to be the difference maker for a Lynx team that failed to reach the postseason in each of the previous six seasons.

"Just her maturity, people expect a lot from her," Augustus said of Moore, who also had a season-best 12 rebounds for her first double-double. "She spoiled everyone with what she did in college, and she's come in and been everything that we've needed."

While Moore continues to excel in her first season in the league, she likely won't be content with anything less than a WNBA title.

The Lynx can increase their chances of accomplishing that feat by earning the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs with a victory in this matchup and an Indiana loss to Atlanta. Minnesota won two of three versus East-leading Fever and owns the tiebreaker should the teams finish with the same record.

"It's just a blessing to be on this team," said Moore, who went 150-4 with two NCAA tournament titles in her four years with the Connecticut Huskies. "All of us have a really special situation, so I'm just excited to play well because we still have a lot of work to do."

Minnesota has outscored opponents by an average of 13.0 points during its five-game winning streak -- a run that started with an 81-62 victory at Washington last Thursday.

The Mystics (5-23), losers of eight straight, are one loss away from matching their longest skid in almost three seasons. They concluded their 2008 campaign with nine straight defeats -- tied for the third-longest losing streak in team history.

Crystal Langhorne, the league's fourth-leading scorer with 18.9 points per game, continues to be the lone bright spot for Washington. She had 27 points and 12 rebounds, but the Mystics couldn't rally from a 22-point deficit during Sunday's 86-79 loss to Phoenix.

"When you're starting down 10 points, that's a killer trying to fight back the entire game," she said.

The Mystics, who have dropped five straight and an Eastern Conference-worst 11 of 13 on the road, won't be part of the postseason for the first time in three years. With the season winding down, Langhorne's goal is to "to keep playing hard, to get better as a unit. Working on things for next season and getting better."