Even though it cost the Lynx the win and a chance to take the series, it was hard not to enjoy watching Stars guard Becky Hammon play today. The veteran showed why she's one of the best.
She adjusted her game, relenting the fact she can't out-do both Whalen and Augustus at the same time, and turned it into a team battle that resulted in fantastic over-the-board production from teammates Jia Perkins and Sophia Young. They normally put in about a combined 20 points a game. Today, they put in 47, taking advantage of Hammon's ability to carve up 'Sota's interior 'D'. The Lynx repeatedly got caught over-rotating or not rotating at all, resulting in a slew of open looks and foul shots for the Stars.
There's definitely something to be said about having played the most playoff games in WNBA history.
- The Lynx were really hurt by two early fouls on Moore that forced her to the bench. She was the x-factor...played extremely well when she was on the floor (16 points, 7 rebounds) but the team couldn't tread water when she sat. She ultimately fouled out late in the fourth quarter after just 25 minutes of play.
- Augustus and Whalen did their part again, combining for 39 points on 17-36 shooting. Whalen's assist total is deceptively low, because teammates were just missing shots today.
- Brunson topped her own work on the glass, grabbing 16 boards in this one. But she also scored just 3 points on 1-9 shooting while her counterpart scored 23 while going to the line 13 times. Few women control the glass better than Brunson, but seeing her normally solid offense fall off a cliff is perplexing.
- The bench absolutely needs to make shots. They got exposed today with Moore in foul trouble. Wiggins and Monica Wright didn't hit a single field goal in 20 combined minutes and scored just 1 points between them. The Stars usually run a short bench, so this could be a huge trump card, if the ladies can knock down their shots.
- Simone Augustus is fantastic to watch. She plays with a sharpness and physicality you don't often see in the WNBA. Her greatest asset is her fearlessness. She forces the game to play to her, and defies a lot of the psychological stereotypes about female athletes. No quarter, and if you get in her way, she'll run you over and not shed a single tear about it.
- Despite the rough going today, the Lynx can easily take this series in game 3. Adjust the interior defense, keep Moore out of foul trouble, and throw everything possible at Hammon. The Stars' shallower talent and short bench mean they're vulnerable to exhaustion, especially Hammon who has to carry the whole team most of the time. The Lynx tried to limit her and she took advantage by getting the ball to teammates that were left open. It might actually better to just guard her straight up. Turn the Stars into a one-woman show and make her have to beat the team singlehandedly. She was definitely tired at the end of this one.
Game 3 is Tuesday back at Target Center. Not sure is any broadcast info has been released since this was a TBD game. I'll let you all know when I know.