Maya Moore carries Lynx to WNBA Finals; Fever top Liberty
PHOENIX — Maya Moore stole Noelle Quinn’s pass with 3 seconds left and made a free throw with 1.5 seconds to go to give Minnesota a 72-71 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday (Monday Manila time), sending the Lynx to the WNBA Finals with a two-game sweep in the Western Conference series.
In the Eastern Conference finals, Tamika Catchings scored 16 of her 25 points in the second half to rally the Indiana Fever to a 70-64 win over the New York Liberty in Game 2 and even the series at one game apiece.
Moore had career playoff-high 40 points to help Minnesota reach the title series for the fourth time in five seasons. Minnesota won the title in 2011 and 2013.
“Four times in five years in the Finals, it’s not easy for these players,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said, “especially when the expectation is every time they play, they should win the game.”
With the teams tied at 71, Moore blocked and controlled Quinn’s pass attempt to Brittney Griner. She was then fouled by Quinn, made the first three throw and the Lynx rebounded the miss on the second as time ran out.
Candice Dupree led the defending champion Mercury with 16 points.
In Indianapolis, the Fever trailed by 15 in the second half until the 36-year-old Catchings took over to level the series.
It was the Fever’s seventh win in their last nine elimination games. Shenise Johnson finished with 12 points and Shavonte Zellous and Marissa Coleman added 10 for Indiana.
New York’s Tina Charles led all scorers with 25 points — including 17 in the first half — and had 10 rebounds. Epiphany Prince added 12 points for the Liberty, who led 44-29 at halftime.
Top-seeded New York seemed in control through three quarters, but after Charles made a jumper to give the Liberty a 55-42 advantage early in the fourth, Catchings and the Fever went to work on a 13-0 run. Catchings has six points and two assists in the spurt.
The decisive Game 3 will be played Tuesday night in New York.
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