Uncasville, CT -- Maya Moore's 31-point second half, as well as a Lynx eight-point lead with a minute and a half left in regulation, were not enough to keep Thursday night's game against the Connecticut Sun from going into overtime. In the extra session, the Sun made enough shots to hold off Moore and put away the defending champs, 93-89.
Moore poured in a season-high 40 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss, just the fourth time the Lynx have been on the wrong end of a game this season.
"Big win for us, for momentum purposes," Sun coach Curt Miller said. Tonight's game plan wasn't always executed perfectly but what we talked about the most was grinding tonight and just trying to be there in the end.
We made some unbelievable tough shots to be there, but ultimately, we grinded and put ourselves in a position to steal a victory that was almost out of reach. I am proud of them to have that mindset."
Down eight in the final two minutes, Alex Bentley came alive for Connecticut and hit two big three-pointers, the second one over Moore, that would cut the Minnesota lead to two with less than 30 seconds left in regulation. Bentley scored nine of her team-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, her third straight game with at least 20 points.
Chiney Ogwumike came away with the ball on the other end, and finished the layup in transition to tie the game with 2.9 seconds left. Out of a timeout, Lindsay Whalen missed a shot at the basket that would have won the game, sending it into overtime. Whalen scored 12 points, while adding five rebounds and five assists.
"It was a hard-fought game," Moore said. "I thought there was some moments where we didn't execute our defensive goals of dominating the boards. We have to be smarter with the ball down the stretch, and understand how to close games out consistently."
In the extra period, it was Moore who seemed to always have an answer anytime the Sun scored, keeping the game within two points heading into the final minutes. Minnesota had multiple chances in the closing minutes of the one possession game, but Moore was called for an offensive foul on what would be her team's last meaningful possession, which all but sealed the game for the Sun.
"This was the first game in the second half, since the trade, that we feel we have gotten to be a better defensive team," Miller said. "Their starters, minus Maya (Moore), shot around 33% as a team. We feel a vibe that we hadn't felt for most of the year."
Ogwumike helped keep the Sun in the game, seeming to always come up with a big offensive rebound and put back when her team needed it most. Ogwumike did not miss a shot, going 8-for-8 from the floor, which is the most field goals made without a miss in franchise history. She finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.
Courtney Williams, in her first home game as a member of the Sun since being traded from Phoenix to Connecticut, played big fourth quarter and overtime minutes, and supplied a much-needed scoring punch for the Sun. Williams put in a career-high 15 points off the bench.
Whalen made some history during the first half against the Sun, becoming the first player in the league history to record 5,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,500 rebounds in her career. Whalen lead her team in scoring in the first half with eight points in a game that Seimone Augustus sat out for the Lynx with a knee injury.
The Sun have now won back-to-back games for the first time this season.