Lynx-Mystics Preview

The Associated PressJune 8, 2013

The Minnesota Lynx haven't had much trouble with their first two opponents, mainly due to the stellar play of Maya Moore.

Ivory Latta has been a big reason for the Washington Mystics' solid start.

Moore looks to help guide visiting Minnesota to a fifth consecutive win over the Mystics on Saturday night.

The Lynx are widely considered to be the top team in the WNBA and have lived up to that billing so far, winning their first two contests by a combined 36 points.

Moore led the offensive charge in each, netting 26 points in a 90-74 win over Connecticut last Saturday before scoring 22 in Thursday's 99-79 victory over Phoenix.

The third-year forward was selected No. 1 overall in 2011 and has been a major part of the franchise's turnaround. Minnesota has gone 27-7 in each of the last two seasons, winning a championship in Moore's rookie year before falling in last year's finals to Atlanta.

The team hadn't won more than 18 games prior to Moore's arrival.

"I don't know if she goes into the game thinking (she has to) jump start the team," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I think she's just being aggressive and taking what comes to her. She's certainly been coming out early and it's been pretty effective."

Moore had five of the Lynx's 30 assists Thursday, which tied a team record set in 2007. They also committed six turnovers, tying a franchise low set that same season.

"Thirty assists, that's just a really fun way to play," said guard Lindsay Whalen, who had 10. "It's just great when we share the ball like we did."

Latta has been a do-it-all point guard for the Mystics (2-1). She's averaging a team-best 19.3 points after scoring 17 and adding seven rebounds in Friday's 66-62 win over Connecticut.

She stepped up when it mattered most, netting nine points in the final seven minutes as Washington rallied from a seven-point fourth quarter deficit. Latta said the victory meant a bit more as coach Mike Thibault won his return to Connecticut after being fired in November after 10 seasons.

"It meant a lot for us," Latta said. "We wanted to come into this hostile environment and get this win for him. For him, it's just a win. He's not worried about this game. It felt very good, this win for him. Absolutely."

Thibault was simply happy to pick up a road victory.

"I'm not lying when I say it's not any different than another game in the sense that road wins, no matter where you are, are good," he said.

Seimone Augustus scored a game-high 20 points and Moore added 17 to help Minnesota beat Washington 98-69 on Aug. 17 for its fourth consecutive victory in the series.