8:00 PM ET, May 24, 2014
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
With a trio of high-scoring efforts, Maya Moore is leading the short-handed Minnesota Lynx during another strong start.Moore will try to build on the best performance of her career as the Lynx look to improve to 4-0 by extending their dominance over the New York Liberty on Saturday night.Seeking a third championship in four years, Minnesota will have to overcome some absences in the early going. Starting forward Rebekkah Brunson along with reserves Devereaux Peters and Monica Wright are recovering from knee surgeries.That means the team's stars -- Moore, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen -- will have to shoulder an even bigger load for the first couple of months. Brunson is not expected to return until July while Peters and Wright could be back sometime in June.Moore has done her part to help make up for the absences, averaging 35.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 54.5 percent shooting."It's just being another year older, having another year of experience," said Moore, who is in her third season. "And my offseason training, just continuing to be efficient and sharp, just keeping my body in the best shape that I can, on the court and with my nutrition. I'm constantly looking to be aggressive."She had a career-high 38 points and 13 boards as Minnesota held on for a 94-93 win in Tulsa on Friday. Moore made the two winning free throws with 11.8 seconds left.The Lynx (3-0) led by 11 in the final seconds of the third quarter but gave up the last bit of that lead with 3:51 to go, then scored six of the game's final eight points. Augustus scored 23 and is averaging 21.7 and 56.3 percent from the field.Minnesota will try to secure its third-best start in 16 seasons Saturday. The Lynx had a league-record 10-0 start in 2012 and began 5-0 in 2008.They'll face a team they've beaten five straight times by an average of 25.0 points. Minnesota won the two meetings with New York last year by a combined 57.The Liberty (1-1) got 15 points and 12 rebounds from Tina Charles last Saturday, but they shot 36.2 percent overall in a 79-65 home loss to Chicago.Coach Bill Laimbeer said that his full roster had only one practice together before that game. Charles and Cappie Pondexter were overseas during the preseason.Laimbeer's team might be more cohesive on the court Saturday after having six days off between games to jell."I think you'll see a much better ballclub going down to Minnesota," Pondexter said. "We've worked on a lot. We have a lot to show. ... I'm looking forward to Saturday."I think if we continue to work hard and get used to each other, I think we'll be fine."Charles averaged 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in two games against Minnesota while with Connecticut last season, while Moore averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 boards in two meetings with New York in 2013.