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  • 15 Jun
    ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Lynx rushed out to another big lead Friday night. And every time the Phoenix Mercury began to chip away, Maya Moore pushed them aside.Moore scored 26 points, all in the first three quarters, and the defending WNBA champion Lynx beat the Mercury 96-86 on Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the semifinal series.Coming off a record-setting 113-point outburst in Game 1, Minnesota shot 61 percent in the first quarter and took a 35-24 lead. Moore scored 12 points in a three-minute flurry to close the quarter.Shes a very difficult person to guard because you cant necessarily script what shes going to do, said Minnesotas Cheryl Reeve, honored as the WNBA coach of the year Friday. Mayas got a good feel for the game in terms of moving without the basketball.Lindsay Whalen scored 12 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter for Minnesota, playing at the Xcel Energy Center -- home of the NHLs Minnesota Wild -- for the second straight game because of a scheduling conflict at the Target Center in Minneapolis.The Lynx missed their first five shots of the second quarter, but Moore stole an outlet pass and hit a 3-pointer to push Minnesotas lead to 12.Phoenix cut it to 63-57 midway through the third quarter. Moore answered with one of her four 3-pointers on the night and the Mercury didnt come within six again until the final 30 seconds.In the end, the Mercury paid for their poor first quarter.To let them score 35 points, that was the ballgame, Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. You cant play with the Lynx for 30 minutes. Theyre too good of a team.Still, with Moores scoreless fourth quarter fresh in her mind, Reeve said the Lynx need more out of their former league MVP.I know that the stat line says she was really, really good, but I think overall Maya Moore is a better player that what we saw tonight, Reeve said.Rebekkah Brunson added 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Sylvia Fowles had 14 points and nine rebounds for the top-seeded Lynx. Fowles was honored Friday as the leagues defensive player of the year.Diana Taurasi had 31 points for the eighth-seeded Mercury. Penny Taylor added 16, and Marta Xargay had 10.We did a much better job of matching their intensity and their toughness, Taurasi said. Unfortunately, we didnt bring it in the first quarter and that was probably the difference.FOUL TROUBLEThe teams combined for 54 fouls, including 17 in the first quarter. Phoenix center Britney Griner was especially hampered by the barrage of whistles. She picked up two fouls in the first 1:41 and was pulled from the game. Griner returned with 3:23 to go in the first quarter, but picked up her third foul with 50.8 seconds left in the quarter. She played just 4:13 in the first half.The offenses took advantage of the numerous trips to the line. The teams combined to make their first 25 free throws and made 63 of 68 from the line on the night.TIP-INSMercury: Center Kelsey Bone missed the game because of a strained left elbow. She was injured in the second half in Game 1 on Wednesday night. ... The Mercury have played four consecutive road playoff games. They won the first two, single-elimination games at Indiana and New York, before losing two straight in Minnesota.Lynx: Minnesota has won its first playoff game in each of the last six seasons. ... Jia Perkins had 12 points. ... Minnesota played without guard Anna Cruz and center Janel McCarville, both sidelined with back injuries.UP NEXTGame 3 is Sunday in Phoenix. 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CLEVELAND (0-9) at BALTIMORE (4-4)Thursday, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL NetworkOPENING LINE -- Ravens by 10RECORD VS. SPREAD -- Browns 2-7, Ravens 3-4-1SERIES RECORD -- Ravens lead 26-9LAST MEETING -- Ravens beat Browns 25-20, Sept. 18LAST WEEK -- Browns lost to Cowboys 35-10; Ravens beat Steelers 21-14AP PRO32 RANKING -- Browns No. 32, Ravens No. 16BROWNS OFFENSE -- OVERALL (19), RUSH (20), PASS (23)BROWNS DEFENSE -- OVERALL (31), RUSH (31), PASS (23)RAVENS OFFENSE -- OVERALL (27), RUSH (28), PASS (20)RAVENS DEFENSE -- OVERALL (2), RUSH (2), PASS (7)STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES -At 0-9, Cleveland matched worst start in team history, also done in 1975. ... Browns have also lost 12 in row since last season, 19 of 20 and are 3-27 in past 30 games. ... Cleveland hoping to avoid joining 2008 Detroit Lions as only 0-16 team in NFL history. ... Browns led Ravens 20-0 earlier this season before blowing lead. ... Browns are 2-15 against Ravens since 2008. ... Cleveland is first team since 1964 to allow at least 25 points in first nine games. ... First-year Browns coach Hue Jackson sticking with rookie QB Cody Kessler, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 204 yards vs. Dallas. Kessler has posted 100-plus rating in three of six starts, but hasnt been able to connect on deep passes. ... Browns rookie WR Corey Coleman returned after missing six games with broken hand vs. Dallas and had three catches for 41 yards. In first meeting with Ravens, Coleman had five catches for 104 yards and two TDs. ... Terrelle Pryor leads Browns in receptions (46), yarrds receiving (579) and TDs (4) in first full season as WR.dddddddddddd ... Browns LB Jamie Collins played every snap last week, just days after being acquired in trade with Patriots. He finished with eight tackles. ... Jackson served as Ravens QB coach in 2008-09. ... C Cam Erving was ejected on first series against Cowboys for fighting, but is expected back in lineup. ... Browns are 22-31 all-time in prime-time games, 5-7 on Thursday night. ... Baltimore tied with Pittsburgh atop AFC North. Baltimore snapped four-game losing streak by beating Steelers for first win since Sept. 25. ... Ravens defense ranks third in NFL with 27 three-and-outs. ... Ravens WR Mike Wallace leads team with 614 yards receiving and tops NFL with four catches of 50-plus yards. ... Baltimore K Justin Tucker has not missed FG or conversion this year. He needs one point to reach 600 for career. ... Ravens WR Steve Smith stands eight catches short of becoming 14th NFL player with 1,000 receptions. ... Ravens 15-3 at home in November under coach John Harbaugh. ... Cleveland has more points (168-154) and more TDs (19-13) than Baltimore. ... Fantasy Tip: Look for Ravens to try to establish run with Terrance West against leagues 31st-ranked rushing defense. West should get brunt of carries over Kenneth Dixon, who bruised chest vs. Steelers.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL ' ' '