In a game nobody would describe as pretty, the Minnesota Lynx hung on and won the opening game of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Mercury.
Neither team managed even 40% from the field in this one, but the Lynx were able to win this one on the strength of their rebounding and several big plays late by stars Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus.
Moore led four Lynx in double figures with 19, though she shot only 7-20 for the game. As she often does she came alive late, scoring nine points late including a monster three to stretch the lead to nine, and then the game clinching free throws at the end.
Seimone Augustus seems to have found her groove with 14 points including a couple of vintage pull ups in the fourth quarter as the Lynx were holding off the Mercury.
The real story tonight was the Lynx interior defense and rebounding. Sylvia Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson combined for 33 rebounds as the Lynx outrebounded Phoenix 44-30, and dominated the offensive glass. They also were instrumental in holding Mercury star Brittney Griner to nine points on 3-7 shooting.
For the Mercury, only guard DeWanna Bonner was in double figures with 21 points with four three pointers. Nobody else was able to get going, and the Mercury shot only 33% from the field.
Ultimately, it's about figuring out a way to win at this time a year, and the Lynx, despite long stretches of ugly offense, managed to repel the Mercury and now head to Phoenix on the precipice of another trip to the WNBA Finals.
Game two is Sunday at 2:00 pm CDT on ESPN.