Lynx 66 (1-0) – Silver Stars 65 (0-1)


MENZIE HENDERSON
Lynx Writer


Box Score

How it Happened
Before tonight, Seimone Augustus had not experienced WNBA Playoff basketball. She kept hearing all about how it was a different game that was much more physical and more intense. On Friday night at Target Center, she finally got that first taste of what the postseason is really like in an expected all-out scrappy battle that of course, went down to the wire in dramatic fashion.

It’s the Lynx and Silver Stars…would you expect anything else?

In front of a sellout crowd of 11,891, the Minnesota Lynx were able to take Game 1 from the San Antonio Silver Stars 66-65 in the closing moments. The Silver Stars were looking for the game-winning shot on an inbound play with four ticks remaining, but Lindsay Whalen made the biggest stop of the night by causing a deflection that ran out the clock for the Lynx win.

"Not the way we envisioned, but a win is a win, whether you played well or you grinded it out like we did," Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said.

"It was a great crowd and great atmosphere," Augustus stated. "It is everything that we expected. We expected to get San Antonio's best. They came out aggressive on the defensive end, being physical with everyone and we just had to get comfortable getting into the groove of the game. It took me a quarter to really get into the game. I didn't start to get into a groove 'til the second quarter."

'Into a groove' for Augustus may have been an understatement of her play. She knocked down multiple big shots, including an 11-foot jumper with less than a minute to go to give the Lynx the lead back en route to their one-point win.

Danielle Adams and Becky Hammon led the way for the Silver Stars with 16 points each and thrived off of the pick-and-roll - something that Minnesota must improve on defensively come Sunday.

Leader of the Pack
After becoming the first player in WNBA history to post 20+ points, 10+ assists and commit zero turnovers during her last game at Target Center, Lindsay Whalen was on top of her game again this evening. Whalen brought leadership and playoff experience to the table by scoring 20 points, dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds as well as converting on all of her six free-throw attempts.

"Lindsay's been important to us all season long and tonight was no different," Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said of her point guard's performance. "She just poses problems in the pick and roll game and she just had a good bounce in her step and that's just Lindsay."

Notable Performance
In the first playoff game of her career, Seimone Augustus was in a groove, scoring 19 points including eight during a pivotal third quarter. Augustus had a fierce look on her face in the second half and when she gets fired up like tonight, it can be an embarrassing time for any opponent who tries to stop her. The former LSU standout broke defenders off with her sick-nasty crossover and proceeded to let them know all about it after draining a jumper in their face.

"There's not many players in the league that can guard Seimone when she gets that look and bounce in her step whether she crosses you up or goes by you aggressively into the paint and shoots that runner, she's just special," Reeve admitted. "Really, really special."

Rookie Report
Maya Moore is no stranger to defining moments in big games -- the spotlight was always on her throughout the championship runs in her UConn days. Tonight, it shined brightly on Moore again as she stood at the free throw line with the chance put the Lynx up by three with 10.2 seconds left. The Lynx faithful gripped the edge of their seats with all eyes focused on the rookie, but the only sound that rang through Target Center were two clanks off the rim. In her first professional postseason action, it may not have been the picture-perfect beginning. But with 10 points added tonight, Moore undoubtedly helped the team to victory and one step closer to a championship -- and that's all that matters to the WNBA's Rookie of the Year.

The Numbers Game
Tonight's crowd of 11,891 was the largest crowd of the season for the Lynx after finishing off the regular season with six consecutive crowds over 8,000. This season was Minnesota's sixth consecutive season with an improved attendance and largest average attendance since their inaugural season. In their previous two home playoff games, Minnesota drew crowds of 4,227 (2004) and 3,622 (2003). Included in tonight's attendance was State Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota native and Minnesota Wild center Matt Cullen and Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

GAME 1: Lynx 66 - Silver Stars 65 | Game Recap
GAME 2: Sun Sept. 18 4 PM | TIX
GAME 3: Tue Sept. 20 TBD | TIX
Looking Ahead
Minnesota will attempt to close out the series on the road as they fly to San Antonio tomorrow in preparation of the Sunday afternoon matchup scheduled at 4:00 PM. If a third game is needed, the Lynx will be back at Target Center on Tuesday night. For more news and content throughout the playoffs, check out Lynx 2011 Playoff Central.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter. Visit the Lynx official Facebook Page here.

Only in MN Explore Minnesota