Lynx-Liberty Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Lynx ended their only losing streak of the season last week with another lopsided victory over the New York Liberty.

Holding a slim lead in the Western Conference, the visiting Lynx can deal another blow to the Liberty's playoff hopes Tuesday night.

Minnesota (20-7) had dropped three in a row before routing New York 88-57 on Aug. 18, and that victory is among their three in the last four games. Maya Moore led the way with a career-high 35 points in an 84-77 win over Indiana on Saturday.

The Lynx have moved one game ahead of Los Angeles in the West, and they'll try to maintain that advantage by handling the Liberty once again.

Minnesota has won the past four in the series by an average of 24.8 points, topping New York by more than 30 in each of the last two. Moore had a team-best 28 points and a season-high six 3-pointers in the most recent matchup and is averaging 25.8 points and 58.0 percent shooting in her last four games.

"When the ball's going in, you can't help but feel confident," Moore said. "The key when you are feeling good is to stay composed and stay within yourself."

Moore will try to keep rolling against a Liberty team that's one game back in the race for the final playoff berth in the East. New York (11-16) had lost a season high-tying three in a row before a 74-66 road victory Sunday over last-place Connecticut.

"If we lost this game, I think our playoff hopes would have been against all odds, really. It was a big game to stay in the mix," guard Katie Smith said.

Smith was one of two Liberty players to score in double figures against Minnesota with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Leading scorer Cappie Pondexter, averaging 17.9 points, missed the game because of a bruised left heel.

"Katie's been playing very well as of late," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "She struggled early, but now she's found her shot and she's looking for it. It's tough to leave her open."

Pondexter had three points and shot 1 of 8 in her return, an 82-64 loss at Chicago on Friday, but scored 14 points Sunday. Plenette Pierson had a team-best 18 points in that game and has scored a combined 43 while shooting 54.5 percent in the past two contests.

Pierson, averaging 12.4 points this season, missed seven of nine shots against Minnesota and finished with eight points.

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