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WNBA: After slow start, Lynx rally in home opener

All the hubbub over being the defending WNBA champion died just after tipoff Sunday afternoon for the Lynx.

After an emotion-filled tribute and review of Minnesota’s 2013 season, complete with a presentation of diamond-studded championship rings and a banner unveiling in the rafters, the Lynx came out and played like they were in some kind of hangover against the Connecticut Sun.

It was a funk that produced some of the most horrid play in recent memory, a stretch that lasted nearly three quarters.

“Give Connecticut a lot of credit,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “They were terrific, how they came out, how they competed from the get-go. You are watching a team doing a banner-raising and a ring ceremony.

“If I am coaching, I’d say go out and punch them in the mouth. They aren’t ready.”

But the Sun couldn’t deliver a knockout punch.

The Lynx were equal parts putrid and sensational in rallying from a 16-point deficit to record a 90-87 victory in front of a sellout Target Center crowd of 9,434.

Not surprisingly, it was Minnesota’s three Olympians who picked their own moments to shine. Maya Moore kept the Lynx (2-0) afloat at their gravest moments in the third quarter and finished with 33 points and 12 rebounds.

Seimone Augustus had five turnovers but finished with 18 points, including a 13-foot fadeaway jumper with 2.3 seconds left to force overtime. In the extra session, it was Lindsay Whalen, who worked her way back into Reeve’s good graces by scoring 10 of her 17 points, including Minnesota’s final 10 in dropping the Sun to 0-2.

“Thank God ... everyone came in and did their thing,” Whalen said with a heavy sigh.

With Whalen on the bench, backup point guard Lindsey Moore spurred the Lynx in the third quarter.

“Do you take a chance and put Lindsay Whalen back in there?” Reeve said. “I am a believer in going down the stretch and living and dying with your horses.”