Lynx Take Game 1, Beat Storm 80-64

Kyle Ratke
Web Editorial Associate

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Going into Friday night’s Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx game at the Target Center, home teams were 0-3 in the WNBA Playoffs.

By the end of the night, the Lynx made sure it didn’t move to 0-4 as they came away with an 80-64 win over the Storm to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Lynx vs. Storm
"It was a trend that we were pretty focused on bucking. I told them that before the game," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "...It was great fuel for us. It's not going to be easy. If you think it's going to be easy, you're going to get beat."

The first quarter wasn’t a pretty one, but the Lynx came out of it with a 16-15 lead.

Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus all had four points. Maya Moore, who finished second in MVP voting, struggled from the field, shooting just 1-of-5.

Minnesota was unable to contain Camille Little in the first, as she scored eight points, three coming from the free-throw line.

The second half was a bit of a roller coaster. The Lynx had a 16-4 run going into the second quarter, which gave them a 28-19 lead midway through the second. That wouldn’t last, though, as Seattle battled back to bring the game within four at halftime due largely to the play of guards Tanisha Wright and Temeka Johnson, who combined for 19 points, five assists and shot 8-of-11 from the field going into the break.

Veteran Tina Thompson struggled, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field. She did have five rebounds at the break.

The player of the half was Brunson, who led all players with 13 points and six rebounds, which included two offensive rebound put backs. Augustus added eight, while Whalen had seven at the break.

Moore, despite shooting just 1-of-9 at the break, found other ways to contribute, scoring six points to go with three assists and two rebounds. Her time to heat up was coming.

The Lynx got off to a fast start in the third quarter as Moore and Augustus hit back-to-back fastbreak layups to give Minnesota a 44-36 lead.

Moore would keep up her intensity as would the Lynx. She shot 4-of-5 in the third quarter and finished with 15 overall points in the quarter, giving her the team lead with Brunson.

"In the first half she started off a little slow," Augustus said of Moore. "We just told her to keep shooting. She's a great player; she's going to knock them down."

The Lynx brought that intensity into the fourth quarter as well, and stretched the lead to 80-64 at the end of the game.

Augustus finished with a game-high 19 points while shooting 9-of-15 from the field. Brunson finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Despite her slow start, Moore finished with 17 points to go along with six assists, four rebounds and three steals.

The Lynx ended the night shooting 49.23 percent from the field and outrebounded Seattle 33 to 23.

Johnson led Seattle with 14 points and four assists. Wright scored 13, while Thompson finished with 10 points. Little had that eight-point first quarter, but scored just three points after that and finished 3-of-11 from the field.

Minnesota now travels to Seattle for Game 2.

"It's only going to get more intense in Game 2," Reeve said. "It's an elimination game for them."

Leader of the Pack: Rebekkah Brunson

She did it again. On the day when she was named to the WNBA All-Defense Second Team, she certainly played like a first-teamer.

She kept the Lynx in the game during the first half, finishing with 13 points and six rebounds, while shooting 6-of-8 from the field.

Her veteran intensity was evident throughout the game and it rubbed off on her teammates.

"I just try to set the tone for my team, kind of lead by example," Brunson said. "I know that playoffs it's a new season, and you have to go out there and bring your game to a different level."

Highlight of the Game

To end the third quarter, the Lynx hit back-to-back 3-pointers from Monica Wright and Moore to put the Lynx up 62-48, their biggest lead of the night at that point in the game. Wright's 3-pointer was the team's first of the night, and just seconds later (with 1.8 seconds left on the clock), Moore hit a clutch 3-pointer to give her team the edge going into the fourth.

Audio: Brunson With Alan Horton

The Numbers Game

  • In the first 12 minutes of the game, Minnesota forced two shot clock violations against the Shock.

  • With 1:42 left in the first half, Moore and Thompson were a combined 1-of-15.Who saw that coming?

  • The Lynx scored 24 points off turnovers, while the Storm scored just 11.

  • Quotable

    "She had a couple of good shots. That last shot at the end of the third quarter over Tina, that was a heck of a shot. Tina had pressure on her and she jumped up and knocked it down. She probably plays as well without the basketball better than anyone in the league." — Storm head coach Brian Agler on Lynx small forward Maya Moore.

    Looking Ahead

    The Lynx will travel to Seattle for Game 2 on Sunday at 4 p.m. CST. The game will be aired on ESPN2, WNBA LiveAccess and 106.1 BOB FM.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.