Behind a spectacular shooting performance, the Minnesota Lynx blew by the Washington Mystics 101-81 in the first game of their WNBA semifinal series. It wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. The Lynx did it inside and out, but set a franchise record for threes in a playoff game, shooting an incredible 12-17 from beyond the arc.
Early on it was Sylvia Fowles underneath getting the Lynx going, as the Lynx slowly pushed ahead in the first quarter. Later it was Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, and Renee Montgomery taking turns heating up.
The key stretch was the last six minutes of the first half, when the Lynx, who saw their lead cut to three points, made ten straight baskets to close the half on a 23-11 run and take a 15 point lead into the break. They didn’t slow down in the third, as Augustus carried her flow over the break and scored 11 in the quarter, while the Lynx as a team piled up 31 on their way to a 28 point lead, rendering the fourth quarter garbage time.
Augustus was the big star tonight, finding her rhythm in the second quarter and finishing with a season high 24 points on 11-17 from the field. She was doing it off screens, off the dribble, in the paint, at the elbow, and 2-3 from three. It was spectacular.
The Lynx did a good job at the other end of the floor as well. It was clear their focus was on stopping Kristi Toliver, who made nine threes in the Mystics’ upset of the Liberty the other night, and they succeeded. Toliver scored only three points (on a first quarter three pointer) on 1-7 shooting. Montgomery especially was in to her throughout the night, and that really slowed the Mystics attack. Elena Delle Donne (17), Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (16), and Emma Meesseman (15) all had their moments, but without Toliver’s shooting, there was not enough consistency to the Mystics’ offense.
The other big story for the Lynx was the return of Lindsay Whalen to the starting lineup after missing the final 12 games of the regular season with a broken hand. She played only 17 minutes, and struggled to find a rhythm. It was great to see her back out there, but the Lynx will need her to shake the rust off going forward.
Meanwhile, Renee Montgomery, back in her bench role, was incredible. She led the team at +26, scored 18 points on 7-10 from the field and 4-5 from three, and generally brought the swag.
It was a great way for the Lynx to get back on the floor for the first time in eight days. They were clearly eager to get going, and they looked very sharp. They took early control of the series, and the Mystics will have to search for some answers.
- Overall, the Lynx shot 59.4 percent from the floor. 70 percent from three.
- Some good minutes, especially defensively, from Plenette Pierson.
- Williams Arena did not look particularly full, which is disappointing for the post-season.
- Next game Thursday back at Williams.