Moore hits winner to lift Lynx over Fever 80-77

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Maya Moore made a 3-pointer at the buzzer from the top of the key to give the Minnesota Lynx an 80-77 victory over the Indiana Fever on Friday night in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals.

Moore, who finished with 24 points, took the inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, moved to her right to elude a defender and swished the winner. The referees reviewed the play for a few minutes before declaring the basket good and leaving the Fever crowd stunned.

Minnesota leads the best-of-five series 2-1.

Game 4 is Sunday night with Minnesota trying to win its third title in five years. The team that has won Game 3 has won 70 percent of the titles since the WNBA went to a best-of-five format in 2005. Indiana is trying to become the first No. 3 seed to win a title. The first 18 championships were won by either one or two seeds.

These two teams played in the finals in 2012, which Indiana won for its lone title. After splitting the first two games that season, Indiana routed Minnesota in Game 3. This one was a much tighter contest.

As had been the case in the first two of the games in the series where each team won by six points, this one came down to the end. Neither team led by more than five points in the fourth quarter. Minnesota trailed 77-74 with 2:08 left before Renee Montgomery hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 77 with 1:11 left.

Both teams missed shots over the next 40 seconds before Indiana had the ball with 25 seconds left. Shenise Johnson’s jumper from the corner was partially tipped with a few seconds left and the ball went out of bounds giving Minnesota one last chance to win in regulation, which Moore took.

She had been saddled in foul trouble all night, playing just 12 minutes through the first three quarters. Moore scored 12 points in the final period to lift the Lynx. Seimone Augustus added 13 points, and Montgomery had 12.

Johnson finished with 17 points to lead Indiana. Tamika Catchings added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Moore helped Minnesota build a 28-21 early in the second quarter and was playing well before she picked up her third foul and sat the rest of the half.

With Minnesota’s star on the bench, Indiana got going on offense. Catchings started a 14-6 run with her first basket of the game. Johnson had nine points during that spurt, including a 3-pointer which made it 37-34 and gave the Fever their first lead since early in the first quarter.

That shot capped a 9-0 burst in the run and brought the crowd of 16,332 fans, which included Paul George and many members of the Indiana Pacers, to their feet. George, C.J. Miles and Pacers coach Frank Vogel bought 1,500 tickets for this game for fans.

Indiana led 42-38 at the half.

During the second quarter Indiana honored former stars Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown, who helped the Fever win their lone title in 2012. They were given framed pictures during a timeout in the second quarter.

 

AP source: Liz Cambage traded from Dallas to Las Vegas

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The Liz Cambage trade saga is finally over.

The 6-foot-8 Australian has been traded from Dallas to Las Vegas for Moriah Jefferson, Isabelle Harrison and the Aces’ first two picks in 2020, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the deal hasn’t been announced.

Cambage, who finished second behind Breanna Stewart in WNBA MVP balloting last year, said in January she no longer wanted to play in Dallas. Potential deals the past few weeks that never materialized had weighed on Cambage, who took to social media with emotional posts this week. Cambage is in Australia and is expected to get to Las Vegas this weekend.

The 27-year-old center set a league record last season by scoring 53 points against New York. She averaged 23 points and 9.7 rebounds last year.

The move gives the Aces a formidable frontcourt by pairing Cambage with rookie of the year A’ja Wilson.

Dallas receives a point guard in Jefferson and a talented post player in Harrison. Jefferson was the No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft by the franchise when it was in San Antonio. She averaged 13.9 points as a rookie but injured her knee in 2017.

She was limited to just 16 games last season. Harrison was the No. 12 pick in 2015 by Phoenix, but missed her rookie season with a knee injury. She had a breakout year in 2017, averaging 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. She sat out last season because of a medical issue.

Cambage was the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft. She played that season and in 2013 for the Tulsa Shock but sat out in 2012 and again from 2014-2017. The franchise moved to Dallas in 2016. Cambage returned to the WNBA last season with Dallas and hit it off with Wings coach Fred Williams. Cambage took it hard when Williams was fired a few weeks before the end of the season. Williams is an assistant with the Sparks.

After last season, Cambage left the door open to not returning to the WNBA, citing the league’s low salaries. She excelled for Australia at last fall’s FIBA World Cup, helping the team earn a silver medal. Cambage told the AP at the World Cup she would take some time to decide whether she wanted to come back the WNBA.

Follow Doug Feinberg on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DougFeinberg

Lynx star Maya Moore to skip ’19 WNBA season

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore has decided to skip the upcoming WNBA season, seeking more time to devote to her family and her faith.

Moore announced Tuesday on The Players’ Tribune website that she’ll sit out in 2019. She already had taken the fall and winter off from international competition. The five-time first-team All-WNBA honoree has helped the Lynx win four championships since her rookie year, 2011.

“The success that I’ve been a part of in basketball truly blows my mind every time I think about it,” Moore said in her post. “But the main way I measure success in life is something I don’t often get to emphasize explicitly through pro ball.”

Raised by a single mother with strong Christian beliefs, Moore has spoken often about her desire for a well-rounded life steered by biblical principles . She quoted from scripture in her brief essay and, without citing specifics, said she plans to invest time in “some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.”

Reforming the justice system has been a particular passion of hers , including a personal interest she has taken in the case of Jonathan Irons , who was imprisoned in Missouri in 1997 by what his supporters contend was a wrongful burglary conviction at age 16.

“I’m sure this year will be hard in ways that I don’t even know yet, but it will also be rewarding in ways I’ve yet to see, too,” Moore wrote. “I’m thankful to my Lynx family and others close to me who have been walking with me during this shift, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Last season was only the second time since Moore was drafted first overall that the Lynx didn’t reach the WNBA Finals. Moore was eighth in the league in minutes and seventh in points in 2018. She has missed one game in eight seasons, with career averages of 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

“We support her in this exploration and will continue to provide her the love and care she has always known from her Lynx family,” general manager and head coach Cheryl Reeve said in a statement distributed by the team.

Moore, who went to high school in the Atlanta area she now calls home, was given the franchise tag last month by the Lynx, preventing her from becoming a free agent. The 29-year-old, who won the WNBA Most Valuable Player award in 2014, expressed her fatigue — and her eagerness for some extended rest — near the end of the 2018 season, which saw the Lynx ousted in the first round of the playoffs. The league compressed the 34-game schedule by three weeks from the 2017 slate.

Moore was the top vote-getter for the All-Star game last summer in Minnesota, but she passed on the team captain responsibility that would have required her to draft from the 22-player pool. Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks took her place, joining Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics in assembling the sides. Moore had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the exhibition to earn her third straight All-Star Game MVP award.

Moore also opted out of the Women’s Basketball World Cup, the first major event she wasn’t on the U.S. national team for since the 2008 Summer Olympics, which took place before the start of her sophomore season at powerhouse Connecticut.

The Lynx, too, are in flux following the retirement of five-time All-Star point guard Lindsay Whalen, who became coach at her alma mater, Minnesota. They start their season May 25 against Chicago.