Lynx rebound from season's worst loss by crushing Mystics

WASHINGTON -- One practice was enough to get the Minnesota Lynx back on track after their worst loss of the season.

Seimone Augustus scored 18 points and Maya Moore added 14 in the Lynx's 81-62 rout of the Washington Mystics on Thursday night.

Rebekkah Brunson scored 13 points for the Lynx, who shot 57.1 percent (36 for 63) from the field -- matching their season high set at Seattle on June 9. The Western Conference leaders lost by 29 points at Connecticut on Tuesday, but bounced back to win for the 12th time in 14 games.

The much-improved Lynx (19-6) established a franchise record for victories in a season, and they still have nine games remaining. Minnesota is also on the verge of securing its first playoff berth since 2004.

"We had a really spirited practice (Wednesday)," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It was the equivalent of a football team having a pads-on practice. We really challenged each other ... it really set the tone for who we were in the game."

Without hesitation or prodding, and out of earshot of their coach, Moore and Lindsay Whalen credited the practice for the Lynx's quick turnaround.

"We lost by a ton in that game. We didn't play well at all," said Whalen, who scored 11 points and had seven assists. "The only thing you can do is refocus, knowing you're going to play in two nights. We had a really good practice and we just had to come in here and be focused."

Matee Ajavon scored 15 points and Marissa Coleman had 12 points for the Mystics (5-18), in their most lopsided loss of the season. Washington has lost three straight and four of five.

Washington's previous five losses were by a combined 18 points, but the Mystics trailed by as many as 23 in the second half against Minnesota.

"We've been pretty close in every single game, but you have these days where nothing is really clicking," Ajavon said. "Defense is always supposed to be there but they were just scoring at will."

Augustus made 8 of 12 shots and combined with Moore and Brunson to sink 20 of 29 (68.9 percent).

"I thought Seimone was impressive with her shot-making ability," Reeve said. "As a group we're pretty balanced and we got each other the ball in pretty good position to score."

Moore's basket to open the second quarter put the Lynx ahead for good at 19-18. Lindsay Whalen's 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave Minnesota its largest first-half lead at 39-29.

After Taj McWilliams Franklin's layup with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter made it 53-42, the lead never dipped below 10 points. The Lynx made seven of their first eight shots in the fourth and held the Mystics to 42.6 percent shooting for the game.

"We came out with much better energy, focus and effort," said the rookie Moore, who was 1 for 7 with only two points in Tuesday's loss.

The four-time, first-team All-American at the University of Connecticut had four steals on Thursday.

"We played really good defense, that was probably the most fun," Moore said.

Crystal Langhorne scored 11 points for the Mystics, whose three-game winning streak against the Lynx was snapped.

After playing five of six on the road, the Lynx will return home to play Los Angeles on Saturday.