SEATTLE (AP) - Seimone Augustus scored 22 points, Maya Moore had 20 and Rebekkah Brunson had 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Lynx past the Seattle Storm 86-73 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive win.
Moore and Augustus each hit four 3-pointers for defending champion Minnesota (18-4), which has the league's best record and has already clinched a playoff berth. Lindsay Whalen had nine assists and Moore added eight rebounds and a season-high seven assists.
``I love the balance of this team,' Brunson said. ``I think that's something that makes us so good is we have such a complete team. There are so many people who can do it on any given night you don't really know where the points or rebounds are going to come from.'
Camille Little scored 20 points to lead Seattle (10-12), which has lost two in a row at home for the first time since July 2009. Sue Bird added 17 points and Tanisha Wright 11.
Little scored seven to help the Storm cut the lead to five early in the fourth quarter before Moore, Augustus and Brunson combined to score 15 straight points to make it 84-64.
``I think that was a point where we started to get a little bit lax and we definitely started to play like it was over,' Brunson said of the large lead that dropped to five. ``For a while we started to let up and they started to go on a run but we huddled up and we got together and said we've got to play until the end of the 40 minutes and that's what we did.'
Seattle coach Brian Agler watched his team get back in the game only to see the Lynx pull away again.
``I don't think we guarded Augustus real well in that stretch and we didn't get to Maya Moore a couple of times,' Agler said. ``It would have been nice to get stops defensively, but they're a good team.'
Monica Wright, who finished with 15 points, hit back-to-back 3's to give Minnesota a 64-47 lead midway through the third quarter. The Lynx matched a season high with 11 3's.
Moore and Brunson scored 12 apiece and Augustus added 10 to help the Lynx to a 52-43 halftime lead. The Lynx led by 11 in the second quarter.
Minnesota constantly moved the ball to find the open players.
``We had 27 assists out of 35 field goals and that's just fun,' Moore said. ``We do that night after night. Everybody walks away for the most part feeling good and that they contributed.'
Moore scored five during a 12-2 run to help give the Lynx an 18-10 lead before Seattle used a 14-6 run to tie it at 24-24 early in the second quarter. But Augustus and Wright scored five each to start a 15-4 run to put the Lynx up 39-28.
The Lynx clinched a playoff berth with an 83-59 win over Tulsa on Sunday and continued to roll against the Storm.
``Clinching a playoff spot is just part of the process,' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ``I can tell you it's not anything that our players think about. We've got a lot of games to play and we've got some big goals as do the teams that we're fighting with.'
The Storm played without Ann Wauters (strained Achilles), Tina Thompson (sprained knee) and three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, who watched from the bench after flying in Monday from Australia. Jackson has yet to play this season after playing for Australia in the London Olympics.
``I'm looking forward to playing with her again,' Bird said about Jackson. ``She's someone who has been a partner in crime for the last 11 seasons. Whenever we're back on the floor together, it's very comfortable. I think she puts us at ease.'
The Associated Press News Service
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