Game 1: Lynx Hold Off Storm, 73-72







Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate

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The Lynx knew coming into tonight that the Storm werenít going to go away. Having split the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinal series, both teams fought until the final buzzer of the deciding game, but the Lynx edged the Storm 73-72, advancing to face the Los Angeles Sparks in the Western Conference Finals.

Box Score LYNX BOXSCORE
Lynx vs. Storm
Sue Bird drained a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to bring the Storm within one. The Lynx ran the clock down as long as they could, and a missed Lindsay Whalen jumpshot gave possession back to Seattle, who called a timeout with 3.3 seconds remaining. The final shot was taken by Lauren Jackson, who missed a baseline jumper just before time expired, and Maya Moore was there to grab the rebound and secure the series win for the Lynx.

Offensively, it was a game of runs for the Lynx, who were led by Moore through the first half. She put up 17 of the Lynx's 36 first-half points while her teammates struggled to make things happen. But after halftime, Seimone Augustus stepped up with 12 third-quarter points, while Rebekkah Brunson had 10 points in the fourth. The trio were the only Lynx scorers in double figures, as Augustus finished with 21, Moore had 20 and Brunson had 16.

"That's when we're at our best," Reeve said. "Those are the games I've enjoyed the most coaching here. Lindsay will take a turn and go on a run, and Seimone will take a turn, and Maya will take a turn. And it's not necessarily by design. They just have great awareness. Maya had a tremendous first half offensively, she scored 17 ... and it was really key for us. I think that's what makes it so hard for [our opponents], is we're able to share the ball and take turns as far as who's getting shots."

Brunson's Postgame Interview

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The Lynx finished the first quarter up 22-14, but they didnít score for the first four and a half minutes of the second and ended their first half up only one, 36-35. Seattle's Camille Little had 13 first-half points and finished with 17. Sue Bird led the Storm with 19 points and 11 assists, while Tanisha Wright added 11 points.

Leader of the Pack: Rebekkah Brunson

Rebekkah Brunson was just a rebound shy of three double-double performances on the series, finishing the night with 16 points and nine rebounds. She had 10 of the Lynx's 17 points in the fourth quarter, from wide open jumpshots to grinding it out around the rim for offensive rebounds and put-backs. "Rebekkah was huge," Reeve said. "We identified what Seattle was giving us, and we knew that Rebekkah was going to be available for jumpshots. ... She had two in a row that were huge and then she got the huge put-back. MVP of the series for us is clearly Rebekkah Brunson. Without her, we would have really struggled."

Highlight of the Game


A Taj McWilliams-Franklin layup with 1:37 left to play gave the Lynx a 73-69 advantage and got Target Center rocking. The four-point advantage made it a two-possession game, and the Storm barely got a shot at their second, forcing them into a tough shot that wouldn't fall.

The Numbers Game

In the first half, the Lynx scored only four points in the paint to the Storm's 18, but they came out in the second half and took 22 in the lane to Seattle's 12. ... Both teams relied heavily on their starters, as the Lynx and Storm benches offered seven points each. ... The Lynx held a 33-29 rebounding advantage, including 9-4 in the fourth quarter.

Quotable

"I think afterwards we sat here and said hey, we had to battle San Antonio last year, and they gave us a toughness we didn't have before the battle. If you can battle Seattle for three games and come out on top, there's not a team in the league that you shouldn't be able to play against. We hit, they hit back. That's the heavyweight fight of the night. It's awesome as a player to be a part of that. Coach already said that she wishes she was still playing, so she could have been a part of that. When you're on the court with all these great fans, and when you come out on top, you feel really good about what's up next." -- Taj McWilliams-Franklin

Looking Ahead

The Lynx will face the Los Angeles Sparks in a best-of-three series for the Western Conference finals beginning Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at Target Center. Game two will be out in Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m.


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

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