DULUTH, Ga. — Another WNBA championship for the Minnesota Lynx. Another three-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream in the finals.
Maya Moore, though, says that nothing came too easily for the Lynx.
“That’s what a championship is supposed to be,” she said. “It’s supposed to be hard, and when it got hard, we came together and stuck with it and secured that victory. I’m just really proud.”
Moore scored 23 points, Rebekkah Brunson had 15 points and 12 rebounds and the Lynx beat the Dream 86-77 on Thursday night to win their second WNBA title in three years.
Tiffany Hayes finished with 20 points and Alex Bentley had 18 in reserve roles for Atlanta, which was swept in the best-of-5 finals for the third time in four years.
Moore was playing at the Gwinnett Arena for the first time since leading nearby Collins Hill H.S. to the last of three consecutive state championships in 2007, and she had strong support from the suburban Atlanta crowd.
Moore, the WNBA rookie of the year three years ago after helping Connecticut win two straight national championships, was a big reason why the Lynx won their first championship in 2011.
This time, she was named the finals MVP as Minnesota became the second team to go unbeaten in seven playoff games and win a championship, joining the 2010 Seattle Storm.
“I have so many people around me that I appreciate and who have helped me so much from middle school to high school,” Moore said. “I’m sure there’s some Connecticut faithfuls here, too, but when you think about all the things you want your team to be — we don’t just talk about it. We do it.”
Lindsay Whalen scored 15 points and Seimone Augustus had 14 for the Lynx, who improved to 14-6 on the road this year.
The Dream cut the lead to three points early in the third quarter, but Moore came off a screen on the next possession and hit a 3-pointer to make it 45-39. She and Brunson combined for 19 of Minnesota’s 26 points in the third.
Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry, the WNBA’s two-time defending scoring champion, finished with 13 points — a career low in nine finals games — and shot just 28.5 percent in the series.