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Lynx advance to 3rd straight finals

PHOENIX (AP) - Maya Moore scored 27 points, Seimone Augustus had 22, and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury 72-65 Sunday to advance to the WNBA Finals for the third straight year with a sweep in the best-of-three Western Conference finals.

Minnesota will open the finals next Sunday at home against Atlanta, which completed its sweep of Indiana earlier Sunday.

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.

The Lynx swept Atlanta in the 2011 finals and lost to Indiana in four games last season.

Minnesota led by as many as 13 in the fourth quarter, but Taurasi hit a 3-pointer and another basket to cut the lead to 69-63 with 1:24 remaining. Dupree got loose for a layup with 33 seconds left to get Phoenix within 69-65.

The Lynx, who won eight of nine at the end of regular season, have won all four of their playoff games in the postseason, winning by an average of 12 points a game.

Minnesota won all seven meetings with the Mercury this year and has beaten Phoenix 14 straight times dating to 2011.

The Lynx advanced despite missing 12 free throws and the Mercury holding Lindsay Whalen to three points on 1-for-12 shooting. Whalen had 20 points in Game 1.

Minnesota ran off seven straight points after Phoenix had tied it 41-all with 7:45 left in the third quarter and went into the final period with a 53-45 lead.

Griner, after hitting two quick shots in the first two minutes, was held to 3-of-6 shooting in 32 minutes.

The Mercury made a concerted effort on the glass, starting the game by outrebounding Minnesota 8-1 in the first five minutes and grabbing an early 15-9 lead. Phoenix led 21-19 after the first quarter.

Minnesota scored the first nine points of the second quarter and opened up a 38-29 advantage after Augustus hit a 3 with 1:46 remaining. But Dupree scored the last four points for Phoenix and the Mercury got within 38-35 at the break. Augustus had 14 points and Moore 13 for Minnesota in the first half.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
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