Game 1: Lynx 88 – Dream 74


MENZIE HENDERSON
Lynx Writer


Box Score

How it Happened
Seimone Augustus began her night gazing up at the packed crowd of Target Center with big, bright eyes in her first WNBA Finals experience.

She ended it by sending those same 15,258 Lynx fans home hyped as ever -- now just two wins away from bringing the title to Minneapolis for the first time in franchise history.

"It was amazing just to run out and see the white pom poms waving in the air and the seats actually filled all the way to the upper deck," Augustus said. "It's amazing to see how the community has embraced us and how they're coming out to support us. From the opening tip to the last horn, it was loud."

Augustus scored 22 and Rebekkah Brunson had 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 88-74 win over the Atlanta Dream in Game 1 of the title series on Sunday night.

The Dream were led by the seemingly unstoppable force of Angel McCoughtry, who scored 19 of her game-high 33 points in the third quarter alone.

"You have to expect her to get 20-25 points in a game, but it's about maintaining and containing everybody else and making it difficult for them," Augustus said of the defensive approach towards McCoughtry and the Dream.

Lindsey Harding added 20 points, but Atlanta was unable to hang on to a 12-point advantage gained midway through the second quarter.

Augustus and the Lynx were forced to settle for tough, contested jumpers in the first half, but slowly found their offensive groove as the game went on.

"Once we got into our groove, you could see the difference," Augustus stated. "We started to make the right cuts, we started to set great screens, we started to get the ball where it needed to go. Early on, there was just a lot of emotion and energy that was being used in the wrong way."

With the score tied 62-62, the Lynx opened the final stanza on a 13-0 run sparked by a revamped defensive pressure and an attacking Lindsay Whalen. The Lynx point guard set the tone in the game changing quarter with a three-point play followed by a midrange jumper. The Lynx took complete control of what was a close contest by turning scrappy defense into easy offense. Minnesota finished two fast break layups in a row that blew the game open 75-62 with little time remaining.

Whalen added 15 points and six assists for Minnesota in the win. Taj McWilliams-Franklin tallied eight points and 10 boards.

Leader of the Pack
While many of the Lynx are experiencing their first taste of WNBA Finals action, Rebekkah Brunson has been there...and done that. She won it all in Sacramento and knows exactly what it takes to win it again -- hard work and hustle. These two components of Brunson’s game were noticeable tonight as she simply wanted it more than her opponent. Her presence inside helped Minnesota outrebound the Dream 40-28 and outscore them in the paint 52-30.

Highlight to Remember
In addition to her endless offensive repertoire, Maya Moore also has all the physical attributes to literally soar above her competition. Tonight, Moore drove and took off from clear on the other side of the rim to finish with an amazing reverse up and under layup. The rookie chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds, while also recording two steals and two blocks.

Notable Performance
Augustus opened the game shooting just 1-of-7 from the floor, but did not let a slow start affect her. Augustus quickly found her stride by draining a bucket at the 4:45 mark in the second quarter to immediately follow it with a three-pointer from downtown. Augustus was huge in answering McCoughtry's scoring outburst and stepped up as the go-to option down the stretch for the Lynx.

Looking Ahead
GAME 1: MIN 88 ATL 74 | Game Recap
GAME 2: Wed. Oct. 5 7:00 PM | TIX
GAME 3: Fri. Oct. 7 8:00 PM | TIX
The Lynx will take a look at film to correct any mistakes in preparation for Game 2 at Target Center on Wednesday night. The Dream expect to welcome back starting center Erika de Souza, who recently left to play with the Brazilian national team. Souza is Atlanta's second-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game and could make a big difference as the series moves forward.


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