Web Editorial Associate
In Game 1 of the WNBA Playoff Semi-Finals, Minnesota set a few records inside the Xcel Energy Center while defeating the Phoenix Mercury, 113-95.
In a high-paced and competitive game through the first quarter, the defending WNBA Champions absolutely dominated the second quarter and blew the game open, outscoring their foe 31-15.
Leading 55-38 at halftime, Minnesota never looked back as Maya Moore tallied a game-high 31 points on 12-for-19 shooting and eight boards. Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen also turned in outstanding performances, combining on the night for 35 points (14-for-20), 12 rebounds, seven assists and two blocks.
“Neither coach was really happy with the defensive effort,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “No question that we’ll both be hard at work improving that for the second 40 minutes that we play. I was obviously pleased with our offense and I think it was the overall approach. I think it put to rest that narrative that you enjoy talking about when a team has 10 or so days off. I think that we showed that rest was good and preparation was good.”
Phoenix, per usual, got a great game out of Diana Taurasi, who had a team-high 25 points (9-for-14) and four assists. A big story heading into the game was the matchup between two of the best centers in the league, Fowles and Brittney Griner. I think one can safely assess that the reigning WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player got the best of Griner on Wednesday night, as Syl and company held her to 16 points and only two rebounds.
“They pretty much dominated us in every facet of the game today,” Taurasi said. “I mean all the credit to them. Like you said, in the first quarter we had a pretty good run. We were playing well and doing some things that were hurting them. Then in the second quarter, really, it just all went away. They got on a run and just kind of solidified that lead for the rest of the game.”
113: The Lynx set a WNBA record for most points scored in regulation in a playoff game on Wednesday night, putting in this many points in only 40 minutes of action.
30: Minnesota moved the ball tremendously well against the Mercury in Game 1 and were able to muster this many dimes throughout the game. That number breaks the previously held franchise-record for most assists in a playoff game, but for some reason, with the ball movement that the Lynx are exhibiting, I wouldn’t doubt if that record is broken very soon.
63.9 percent: What happens when you move the pumpkin so well… you get good looks. The Lynx went 46-for-72 from the field on Wednesday evening and set another franchise-playoff-record, putting in this percentage of their shots. 52 points in the paint also helped a little bit in bumping up the shooting efficiency.
“That’s the question everyone wants to answer,” Taurasi said on how they’ll stop Minnesota in the next game. “You know when you’re playing against them, you try to throw different things at them. Obviously you want something a little better to happen. You want to limit Seimone [Augustus] and [Sylvia Fowles] and then, oh wait, you have Lindsay Whalen running down your throat. So there are a lot of things that we have to kind of prioritize and we didn’t do any of those today.”
Leader of the Pack: Maya Moore
The 2014 League MVP was sensational against Phoenix, filling the box score with 31 points, eight boards and two assists/steals.
“Because we have so many weapons, I’m able to be free and a lot of the time, able to take advantage of the matchup that I have,” Moore said. “[We’re] just forcing the ball to go in, our home crowd was great – we haven’t played in a while, so we were just excited to go. Again, it’s just taking advantage.”
Minnesota and Phoenix will square off once again underneath the Xcel Energy Scoreboard on Friday at 7 p.m. You can catch the game on either ESPNews or, as always, 106.1 BOB FM radio.