Scouting Report: Lynx vs. Storm
Game 2 - Western Conference Semis
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (1-0) vs. Storm (0-1) – 8 p.m. Key Arena
Where to Watch: ESPN
Where to Listen: 106.1 FM
After an exciting 78-70 victory over the Storm Friday night at Target Center for game one of the Western Conference Semifinals, the Lynx are ready to take them on for game two in Seattle tonight at 8 p.m.
"The hardest one to win is the first one,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was nice to get the win. I thought we played great defensively, for the most part. I thought we let the game get away from us a little bit -- it's amazing what a string of [3-pointers] will do to a game and give a team some confidence."
Although Reeve was happy with her team’s defensive efforts, she said that the Lynx must put together a full 40 minutes of offensive production in order to pull off another win and wrap up the series.
"I wasn't as happy at halftime,” Reeve said. Just from a scoring standpoint, a lot of things that we focused on doing against them we just weren't doing in the first half. I thought we did a little bit better of a job in the second half. That's one thing that we'll be studying. You know, it's us and them: We're the two top defensive teams in the league. For us to end up shooting 46 percent against them is pretty good when the whole league's at 39 percent. We just want more. We're a team that has a lot of weapons. I thought we stalled a lot and we have to be much better in Game 2."
Game 1 at a glance
Although their defense was able to stifle key threats Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson to only eight and 12 points respectively, the offensive play of Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore didn’t hurt. Whalen put up 20 points, along with six assists and four rebounds, while Augustus had 19 points and six rebounds. Moore added 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Lynx were hot in the game’s first few minutes, but the Storm responded, resulting in a close first half and a 33-27 Lynx lead at halftime. But Minnesota put up 27 points in the third quarter, leading by upwards of 10 points for most of the third and into the fourth. In the final frame, the Storm cut the deficit to six but weren’t able to gain an advantage as they sent the Lynx to the free throw line for 22 points on the night, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.
Reserve Shekinna Stricklen led the Storm with 13 points and seven rebounds, and Lauren Jackson and Katie Smith added 12 points each.
Key matchup: Whalen vs. Bird
Point guard Lindsay Whalen had a big night in Game 1, leading her team in both points and assists while playing tough defense against a backcourt of Katie Smith and Sue Bird.
“I [was] just being aggressive and trying to get in the lane,” said Whalen of her play. “If they all collapse in, then I know I have great shooters all over the floor. I think it was just the case of getting a couple of looks early and getting to the free throw line. Whether you're driving and kicking or getting to the basket, it usually works out that either they're going to have a good shot or I [will]. Of course, we know that they're going to pay a lot of attention to Seimone and Maya, they're great players and great shooters, so I think we all know that we have to step it up and make plays as well."
Storm point guard Sue Bird, arguably one of the league’s best, has been around the block. In her 10 WNBA seasons, she’s made seven playoff appearances with the Storm. While she was relatively silent on the offensive end Friday, recording eight points and three assists and committing a game-high five turnovers, Storm coach Brian Agler has no doubt that she’ll rebound with a better game tonight.
“Sue is a competitor and I can guarantee you that whatever you see, she is giving everything she's got,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “I never, ever question her effort or what she can give. ... She had a couple of tough turnovers but that is going to happen. I have a feeling, knowing Sue, she will respond and bounce back [tonight].”
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