It was an easy start to the Finals for the Lynx, as they beat the Atlanta Dream 84-59 tonight at the Target Center. Maya Moore led the way for Minnesota with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists on the night. Moore, Monica Wright (20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), and Seimone Augustus (19 points) made up 62 of the team's 84 points and were the only three Lynx players to hit double figures.
Perhaps the most notable stat of the night: 0-15 shooting from beyond the arc for the Atlanta Dream, who struggled shooting the ball the entire night. Leading scorer Angel McCoughtry (6-24) and Jasmine Thomas (3-15) took the most shots for Atlanta, who collectively shot 31.2 percent on the night on 77 field goal attempts.
"We've been through this before. First game against Washington, it was the same thing, we bounced back," Angel McCoughtry said following the game. "We'll figure it out. That's the type of team we are. It's going to be a dogfight."
The Lynx came out swinging immediately, led by half of the Lynx All Star quartet in Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus. The Lynx took advantage of some well-drawn up plays by coach Cheryl Reeve, most notably a pair of nice backdoor cuts for Augustus, giving her two wide open layups.
After the first quarter, the Lynx had a comfortable advantage, leading by 8, but that was nothing compared to the onslaught put on by Minnesota in the second. The Lynx put the game away in the second quarter, going up 44-25, and winning the quarter 20-9, which included a 15-0 run. Early fouls to Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry and an injury to Tiffany Hayes noticeably hurt the Dream's scoring punch.
"It happened so fast, I didn't realize it, as far as [the 15-0 run]," Lynx head coach Cherryl Reeve said following the game. "We were just still in the moment and trying to win every possession."
Minnesota was able to keep pace in the second half, keeping the Dream at bay throughout the half and giving them an easy win.
"It's just a matter of mental maturity, and knowing how to take the moment how it comes. We don't want to ever relax," Maya Moore said, describing her mindset coming into the second half. "The work that we do in the first half, we want to make sure that it means something."
Monica Wright received a lot of praise, providing a big spark in both halves and filling in the x-factor role that is generally necessary in playoff games.
"She understands that these types of series are about X-Factors, and she used herself in that way," coach Reeve said. "You know that the starters are going to go head-to-head and beat each other up."
With Minnesota's 1-0 lead on the Dream, they will stay in Minneapolis for Tuesday's game 2. It will be played at 7pm CT at the Target Center, and will be featured on ESPN2.