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Associated Press, Published September 29 2013

Lynx advance to third straight WNBA Finals

PHOENIX – Minnesota is headed back to a familiar place – the WNBA finals.

Maya Moore scored 27 points, Seimone Augustus had 22, and the Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury 72-65 Sunday to advance with a sweep in the best-of-three WNBA Western Conference finals. It’s the third straight season that Minnesota has reached the championship round.

“It’s really fun but it’s still not the ultimate prize,” said Moore, who is averaging 21.5 points in the playoffs. “We definitely appreciate where we are, we’re going to enjoy it for a couple of days but it’s still the same focus, the same determination, I think even more so than year one.”

Minnesota will open the finals on Oct. 6 at home against Atlanta, which completed its sweep of Indiana earlier Sunday. It’s a rematch of the 2011 championship in which the Lynx swept Atlanta in three games.

Diana Taurasi had 21 points for Phoenix, but was 6 of 21 from the field. Candice Dupree added 17 points, while No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner was held to six points and 10 rebounds.

Minnesota beat Phoenix 85-62 in Game 1 on Thursday.

“I know I had a tough task with guarding Diana Taurasi, and we kind of alternated defenders on her, just to give her a mix,” said Augustus. “But the team bought into the defensive scheme that we wanted to try apply for this series and for this game. We created a lot of havoc on that end.”

Phoenix committed 13 turnovers, leading to 12 Lynx points and never seemed to get its offense flowing, shooting just 37 percent from the field.

“That is obviously the goal,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “We pegged a few things after game one that we thought we needed to do better, that we thought Phoenix would identify and go at us in that area.”

Minnesota 19 19 15 19 – 72

Phoenix 21 14 10 20 – 65

MINNESOTA (72): M.Moore 12-22 1-2 27, Brunson 1-3 2-4 4, McCarville 1-3 4-6 6, Augustus 8-13 5-9 22, Whalen 1-12 1-2 3, Peters 1-3 0-0 2, Wright 3-6 2-4 8. Totals 27-62 15-27 72.

PHOENIX (65): Bonner 4-15 4-4 12, Dupree 8-13 1-2 17, Griner 3-6 0-0 6, Gilbreath 2-5 1-2 5, Taurasi 6-21 7-7 21, James 0-0 0-0 0, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, Kizer 0-0 0-0 0, Hornbuckle 0-4 0-0 0, Houston 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 25-68 13-15 65.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 3-7 (M.Moore 2-6, Augustus 1-1), Phoenix 2-21 (Taurasi 2-10, Hornbuckle 0-1, Gilbreath 0-2, Houston 0-2, Bonner 0-6). Fouled Out: Hornbuckle. Rebounds: Minnesota 45 (Brunson 14), Phoenix 47 (Griner 10). Assists: Minnesota 14 (Whalen 7), Phoenix 14 (Taurasi 6). Total Fouls: Minnesota 14, Phoenix 21. A: 8,020 (9,510).