Game 1: Lynx Top Storm 78-70
Web Editorial Associate
Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore put together impressive offensive performances, and the Lynx's team defense came together to shut down the Storm 78-70 Friday at Target Center for their first game of the postseason.
"In our minds, there's no element of any part of this being easy. Not a single part of it," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "[Seattle is] good. They're a team that just hasn't had their group together, and hopefully time will run out on them in that regard."
"I was happy with our defense throughout," Reeve said. "From a scoring standpoint, a lot of the things that we focused on doing against them, we just weren't doing in the first half. And I thought we did a little bit better job in the second half."
Whalen and Augustus were key to the Lynx's offensive surge, with Whalen scoring 13 and Augustus scoring 12 after the break. They finished with 20 and 19 points, respectively, and Moore added 16 points on the night.
The Lynx maintained around a 10-point lead for most of the second half, but the Storm made it interesting, pulling within six (69-63) with 2:50 remaining. Seattle failed to get production after that, and five Lynx free throws over the game's final 30 seconds kept them out of reach.
The Storm's Shekinna Stricklen led the team with 13 points, and center Lauren Jackson finished with 12 points, only one of which came in the second half. Katie Smith had 12 points as well.
Last year’s Finals MVP, Seimone Augustus had her playoffs game on tonight, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds. Augustus was a key to Minnesota’s defensive efforts, taking on Sue Bird and helping hold her to only eight points on the night.
"I just tried to use my size against [Bird], but she’s a great player, one of the best players in the world," Augustus said. "I just did the best that I could as far as getting into every cut, getting into every pass, trying to contest every pass, trying to contest every shot. It’s a difficult task but it was a great, total team effort."
Reeve was impressed with her star player's defense, and not surprised by the offensive spark she provided down the stretch.
"Seimone did everything we hoped that she would do," Reeve said. "I thought Seimone was ready to play on that side of the ball. Offensively it took a little bit to get going, but then like Seimone always does, she puts those strings of baskets together. It was really big for us, she got a bounce in her step. ... Seimone played like an MVP today."
Highlight of the Game
With just over eight minutes remaining in the game, Maya Moore picked off a bad pass by Tanisha Wright, and Lindsay took off down the floor. She collected a long pass from Moore and completed the layup, lifting Whalen’s point total to 17. The play gave the Lynx a 64-51 advantage and forced a Storm timeout.
The Numbers Game
The Storm edged the Lynx in both points in the paint (28-22) and fastbreak points (17-8). ... Minnesota shot 46.4 percent to Seattle's 39.7 percent, but the Storm drained seven 3-pointers to the Lynx's four. ... Rebekkah Brunson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. ... The Lynx had 22 points from the free throw line, where the Storm had only 13.
"Somehow, our players don't get recognized for MVP performances. This is that time of year when we let everybody else have those consolation prizes, and we try to go after the big one." -- Coach Cheryl Reeve
The Lynx and Storm will face off for the second game of the three-game series Sunday out in Seattle at 8 p.m. If the series must be decided by a third game, the two teams will return to Target Center on Tuesday, Oct. 2 to determine who advances to the Western Conference Finals.
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