Scouting Report: Lynx vs. Storm
Game 3 - Western Conference Semis
Web Editorial Associate
Lynx (1-1) vs. Storm (1-1) - 8 p.m. Target Center
Where to Watch: ESPN 2
Where to Listen: 106.1 FM
This time a year ago, the Minnesota Lynx were sitting at 1-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals with the San Antonio Silver Stars, after which they went on to win the deciding third game and sweep the remaining two series against the Phoenix Mercury and Atlanta Dream en route to a WNBA title.
This year, in the same position after two Western Conference Semifinal games against the Seattle Storm, they hope to repeat history and take the series with game three tonight at Target Center. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the winner of tonight’s contest will face Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals.
"We worked all year to be able to have a chance to go home and play," forward Rebekkah Brunson said. "We did put ourselves in a similar situation last year so we know that it’s not over. We know if we come out on Tuesday night and play the way that we’re supposed to play and focus in, then we’re in a good position."
Series at a glance
The Lynx took their opening matchup with the Storm 78-70 last Friday night at Target Center. It was a close matchup through the first half, but Minnesota had 27 points in the third quarter to lead by as many as 17 before the Storm came back to bring it within six (69-63) in the game’s final minutes. The Lynx held on with clutch shots from Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore and the team’s free throws down the stretch. Lindsay Whalen finished with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Augustus added 19 points and Moore had 16. Reserve Shekinna Stricklen led the Storm in scoring with 13 points, and Lauren Jackson and Katie Smith finished with 12 points each. Sue Bird was held to eight points on the night.
In Game 2 of the series, the Storm responded, and Sue Bird put up 22 points in the double overtime thriller on her home court. The Lynx were up almost ten at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead in the second, but the Storm had closed the gap by halftime. Again, the Lynx posted a productive third quarter, and Lauren Jackson drained a three to close out regulation time and tie up the game, forcing overtime minutes. Tanisha Wright finished the night with 18 points, and Camille Little added 12. Rebekkah Brunson posted 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Lynx, and Augustus had 20 points.
Key matchup: Brunson vs. Jackson
After posting a double-double in Game 1, Rebekkah Brunson had another outstanding game Sunday, scoring 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting (60 percent) and grabbing 15 rebounds (seven offensive). The double-double was the fourth in her postseason career.
"Rebekkah was the one who came hoopin’ [on Sunday]," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She was really, really good on both sides of the ball -- kept us in things. We’d take a shot, miss a shot, and there she was for huge hustle plays. She was an absolute warrior. ... We have to give Seimone some help; there’s so much darn pressure for her to make all these plays. I thought Brunson was there for her."
Lauren Jackson, who was held to just one point in the second half on Friday, struggled again in her second matchup with the Lynx, putting up just nine points on 4-of-17 shooting. Jackson was held scoreless in the first half, going 0-for-6, but she hit the game-tying shot toward the end of the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. Widely regarded as one of the best centers in the league, containing Jackson again tonight will ease the path to a Lynx victory.
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