The Lynx took a 1-0 series lead in commanding fashion tonight, dominating the second half en route to a 80-64 win over the Seattle Storm at the Target Center. They're the only home team in the 2013 playoffs to win their first game.
The first quarter was just like any other playoff opener -- lots of jitters, lots of silly mistakes early. Maya Moore could not buy a bucket in the first half, finishing the first quarter shooting 1/5 from the field and 0/2 from three-point land. Rebekkah Brunson seemed to be the only one for Minnesota to be at an even keel from beginning to end, going 2/3 for 4 quick points.
For Seattle, Camille Little got off to a great start in the lane. The Lynx could not find a way to stop her inside, and she was able to put up 3 free throw attempts early, scoring 8 points total in the quarter.
The sloppy play died down pretty quickly, and turned into a defensive battle. The Lynx took a 16-15 after one.
The second quarter saw significantly more scoring, just not from who most would expect.
Maya Moore continued her off night into the second quarter. She finished 1/9 from the field in the half. In fact, she and Tina Thompson combined for a total of 3/16 in the half. With Moore struggling to find the net, the Lynx went to another All Star for answers on the offensive end. It may not be the All Stat you're thinking of, though.
Rebekkah Brunson continued her offensive display in the second quarter and made up for everything Moore wasn't able to do early on. She finished the half with 13 points and 6 rebounds on 6/8 shooting. Her only downside on the half was a disappointing 1/4 from the free throw line. Seimone Augustus also had a solid first half with 8 points on 4/8 shooting, while Lindsay Whalen had 7 shooting on a 3/5 clip.
Seattle saw Temeka Johnson handle most of the load on the offensive end early on. She had 10 points to go along with 3 assists on 4/6 shooting.
The Lynx were able to hold their lead at the half, up 40-36.
"I was really disappointed especially with the way we finished the half," Coach Cheryl Reed said following the game. "We let Tameka Johnson go coast-to-coast on our defense, having a foul to give. I just didn't think we had a sense."
When the second half began, Maya Moore woke up quickly.
The third quarter belonged completely to the Lynx, mainly due to the resurgence of Moore, who had 9 points in the quarter. She was able to get back into the offense, mainly due to the play-calling of Coach Reeve. They began feeding the bigs at the elbow and using both Moore and Augustus as cutters, and the strategy paid off.
"I think Maya was just so amped up to play that she was just well ahead of herself," Coach Reeve said. "She just needed to play with a little more poise and slow down. I just asked her to make shots."
The third quarter was where the Lynx made their move, and they did not look back, never allowing the Storm to approach a single digit deficit again in the game. Coach Reeve's use of Moore and Augustus in the paint, along with some pretty wild makes from the two of them cemented the game early in the fourth quarter.
Coach Reeve was able to take her starters out with 2:23 remaining in the game. Maya Moore finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists on 6/15 shooting (keep in mind she shot 5/6 in the second half). Seimone Augustus finished with 19 points on 9/15 shooting. That said, there was little doubt who led the way for Minnesota on the night.
Rebekkah Brunson finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 33 minutes. She was able to lead the offense in the first half, and helped get Moore and Augustus take off in the second half.
"You have to go out there, you have to elevate your game to another level," Brunson said. "I just try to go out there to set the tone immediately and I know that my teammates will follow."
Temeka Johnson led the Storm in scoring with 14 points, with Tanisha Wright close behind with 13. Tina Thompson improved in the second half shooting the ball, finishing with 10 points and 8 boards on 5/11 shooting.
The Lynx will have a chance to close out the series on Sunday, September 22 at 4pm CST in Seattle. The game will be at the newly-constructed Tacoma Dome, and will be the first game there for both teams.