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Moore disappears early — re-emerges with a vengeance for Minnesota

It is no surprise Maya Moore is a big key to the flow of Minnesota’s game plan. Friday she found herself spending a lot of time on the bench, but once she returned to the court the Lynx really took off from Washington.

Chris Poss - Swish Appeal

Washington, D.C — It wasn’t all but two minutes until Minnesota Lynx superstar Maya Moore left the game with two fouls.

While she missed the rest of the opening period, Moore was back in the game by the second quarter and immediately she started to get going. By the conclusion of the game she chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and did not pick up another foul.

According to Moore, sitting did not take her out of the action. She said she never left the game in her mind for those 10 minutes, which prepared her to explode when she stepped back on the court.

“Whenever I’m not in the game, I’m never out of the game,” Moore said. “I’m always in the game whether that’s through my voice or helping players on the court with what I see.”

When she arrived back on the court, it only took a few seconds for her to put up five points. She started with a quick field goal and followed seconds later with a long-range three point shot. Her presence forced the Mystics to call a time out to regroup. The score was 43-31 with the Lynx in the lead.

Her teammates, Rebekkah Brunson and Sylvia Fowles helped make her return more triumphant. They held down the court in Moore’s absence. Brunson finished with 17 points and Fowles with a cool 21 points. The Lynx never lost the lead the entire game.

As their advantage continued to grow throughout the second half, Moore brought her regular consistency to both ends of the court until she saw her last minute of playing time in the third quarter. The Lynx were up by over 20 points at this point -- her work was done.

So far this season Moore has struggled to shoot -- Friday night she was nearly perfect from the floor. She shot 6-for-8 from the field including hitting all three of her triples, a couple free-throws, and all in just over 25 minutes of play.

“I just want to continue to be aggressive and look for openings that come,” Moore said regarding her shooting percentage dip this season. “Just (want to) continue to get a nice feel every, single game however long it takes. It feels good to shoot a higher percentage tonight.”

With Moore locked in and staying free of fouling, the Lynx won 98-73 over Washington.

Although it may have seemed like an easy win for the Lynx who have four Olympians on their team including Moore, the Washington Mystics were missing their biggest star: Elena Delle Donne.

Delle Donne did not warm up. Plenty of fans screamed, “Where’s Elena?” throughout the game, wondering about their superstar. She did not play the entire game.

According to Mystics coach Mike Thibault, Delle Donne is out with what is being called a groin strain. Friday’s game was used as a precaution for the injury.

“We are being cautious,” he said. “We don’t want it to turn into something long-term. We’ll see where she is when we work out tomorrow and again when she warms up on Sunday.”

Thibault said she might be back on Sunday afternoon against the Indiana Fever. When asked, he gave no confirmation on if this stems from the same injury that caused her to sit out the pre-season.

The Minnesota Lynx remain undefeated (8-0). They meet the Mystics again in Minnesota on June 23. The teams will also meet again for the Mystics’ final game of the season.