Lynx Take 2-0 Series Lead, Beat Dream 88-63
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One more game.
After defeating the Atlanta Dream 88-63 on Tuesday night at the Target Center, the Minnesota Lynx just need one more win to win their second title in three seasons.
"I thought a solid effort, not as a good as Game 1, but I thought in spurts we were pretty good," said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.
That trend continued throughout the rest of the game. Minnesota led 27-16 after the first, thanks to nine points from Lindsay Whalen. Whalen was a true warrior, as she was fouled four times in the first, four pretty hard fouls.
After the first, the Lynx outrebounded the Dream 13-3, something that Reeve was very satisfied with.
"Our effort on the glass was something I really enjoyed watching," Reeve said.
The Lynx went into half with a commanding 51-36 lead.
Whalen led the way with 13 points and four assists at half, while Augustus matched her point total. In a bit of a surprise, center Janel McCarville had nine points while shooting 4-of-5 from the field. Rebekkah Brunson, more commonly known as “The Machine”, had eight points and nine rebounds.
The struggles for Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry continued. She started the game 0-for-6 and entered break with just four points. If that wasn’t enough, she collected her third foul before the break. McCoughtry was in foul trouble during Game 1’s loss as well.
Minnesota shot 62.5 percent in the half compared to Atlanta’s mark of 35.1.
The rest of the game was more of the same for Minnesota.
If it seemed like everyone stepped up, that's because, well, they did. The Lynx outscored the Dream 37-27 in the second half and are now just one win away from their second WNBA Championship.
"It's right there," Augustus said. "40 more minutes, 80 more possessions to get to where we want to get, to get what we think we deserve... But Atlanta's going to bring everything at us."
Augustus led all scorers with 20 points, while shooting 9-of-12 from the field. Moore and Whalen both finished with 14 points, and Moore hauled in eight rebounds. Reeve noted after the game that Whalen will need to improve on her seven turnovers, but isn't too concerned about the veteran point guard.
The post players for Minnesota were excellent on both ends of the court. Brunson finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points while hauling in 10 rebounds, while Janel McCarville added 11 points. McCoughtry led Atlanta with 15 points, but was just 5-of-18 from the field and fouled out of the game midway through the fourth. Jasmine Thomas finished with 11 points. No other Dream player scored more than nine points.
Leader of the Pack: Seimone Augustus
It almost seems like we should expect this type of play. The 2011 Finals MVP was at it again on Tuesday night, scoring a game-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Augustus was again efficient, going 9-of-12 from the field.
Her 2011 outstanding Finals performance was also against Atlanta, but Augustus says it has to do more with the Finals than the team.
"I mean it's the Finals, I don't know if it's exactly the Atlanta Dream, but the Finals tend to bring the best out of any player because you're playing for everything, it's the title," Augustus said.
Highlight of the Game
With 5:04 left in the first quarter, McCoughtry went up for a layup. Moore had other plans. The Atlanta slasher got the ball over Brunson’s head, but out of nowhere came a leaping Moore to swat the ball into the stands.
After Moore looked around confused. For some reason, we don’t think she was confused one bit. Well played, Maya. Well played indeed.
The Numbers Game
"I think that was big from the start tonight. I just wanted to be as aggressive as possible and having to be in the lane a couple times, even if it was just getting us into our set quicker, I feel like when we play with tempo, a lot of energy in our offense, we usually get good stuff."— Lindsay Whalen on her aggressive play and 13 first-half points.
The Lynx will attempt to eliminate the Dream and win their second title in three seasons on Thursday when they travel to play the Dream at the Gwinnett Center. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CST on ESPN 2 and BOB 106.1 FM.
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