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Associated Press, Published September 22 2013

Lynx hold on to sweep playoff series

TACOMA, Washington – True to form, Seattle Storm forward Tina Thompson fought to the bitter end, making a driving layup with 1 minute, 20 seconds left that nearly extended her playing career one more game.

It wasn’t to be.

Seimone Augustus hit a 15-foot jumper with 21.1 seconds left and the Minnesota Lynx held off Seattle and Thompson for a 58-55 victory Sunday and a sweep of the best-of-three Western Conference semifinal series.

Afterward, Maya Moore and the rest of the Lynx paid Thompson the ultimate compliment when they asked her to pose with them for a team photo following the final game of her 17-year WNBA career.

“I think it’s just kind of a reality check that this is a biggest basketball moment,” Moore said. “We have so much respect for her. We just battled it out with her and tried to shut her down every time we could, but we wanted to honor her and get a picture. It was kind of childlike and beautiful.”

Moore scored 22 points and Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which won the WNBA title in 2011 and lost to Indiana in last year’s finals.

The Lynx open the Western Conference finals this week against the winner of the Los Angeles-Phoenix series, which will be decided on Monday.

Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve fought back tears while talking about Thompson during the postgame news conference.

“I’m sad to see Tina go,” Reeve said. “She was a great player. I feel the same as her son. I want her to keep playing.”

Thompson’s layup put the Storm up 55-54 with 1:20 remaining, giving them their first lead since late in the second quarter.

But Augustus responded with her jumper from the right side and Brunson hit two free throws with 11.6 second left for the final margin.

“She’s amazing,” Moore said of the shot by Augustus, who finished with 10 points. “We always have confidence in Seimone. She kind of took over in that last moment of being isolated on the wing and made a move and rose up and it went in and I did a silent fist pump. Then we thought we just need to get a stop.”

Minnesota 20 8 14 16 – 58

Seattle 16 12 11 16 – 55

MINNESOTA (58): M.Moore 7-12 5-5 22, Brunson 6-11 3-4 15, McCarville 1-3 0-0 2, Augustus 5-16 0-0 10, Whalen 3-11 0-0 6, Peters 1-3 0-0 2, M.Wright 0-5 1-2 1, L.Moore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 9-11 58.

SEATTLE (55): Stricklen 1-5 0-2 3, Thompson 6-15 1-2 13, Little 4-9 5-6 14, Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, T.Wright 8-14 0-1 16, Clark 1-5 0-0 2, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Quinn 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 23-55 6-11 55.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 3-9 (M.Moore 3-5, M.Wright 0-1, Augustus 0-3), Seattle 3-17 (Quinn 1-2, Little 1-3, Stricklen 1-3, T.Wright 0-2, Clark 0-3, Thompson 0-4). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 40 (Brunson 13), Seattle 37 (Clark, Thompson 9). Assists: Minnesota 13 (McCarville 5), Seattle 7 (Johnson, Stricklen, T.Wright 2). Total Fouls: Minnesota 16, Seattle 16. Technicals: Seattle Coach Agler. A: 3,457 (9,686).