Click photo to enlarge
Minnesota's Maya Moore plays against the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday in St. Paul, Minn.

ST. PAUL, MINN. >> Maya Moore scored 31 points, including 15 in the second quarter, as the Minnesota Lynx opened their WNBA title defense with a 113-95 win over the Phoenix Mercury in the first game of the WNBA semifinals on Wednesday night.

Lindsay Whalen added 19 points and seven assists for top-seed Minnesota, which has beat Phoenix in all four meetings this season. Center Sylvia Fowles scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Lynx broke the WNBA record for points in a regulation playoff game.

Diana Taurasi scored 25 points for the Mercury, who won the matchup between the two teams in 2014 on the way to their own championship. Brittney Griner added 16 points for Phoenix but was held to just two rebounds.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Friday night.


Candace Parker scored 19 of her 30 points in the first half, Nneka Ogwumike added 27, and the Sparks beat the Sky.

Two-time WNBA MVP Parker had nine rebounds and newly crowned MVP Ogwumike had 10 rebounds and six assists for the Sparks, who were playing their first game in 12 days after early-round byes in the revamped playoffs. The game was at the Pyramid on the Long Beach State campus, 24 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

The Sky was missing injured Elena Delle Donne and her team-leading averages of 21.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. In her absence, the offensive load was spread among four players. Jamierra Faulkner scored a leading 13 points off the bench. Cappie Pondexter added 12, Tamera Young had 11 and Courtney Vandersloot 10.