Web Editorial Associate
The Minnesota Lynx waited eight days to kick off the semifinal round of the 2017 WNBA Playoffs.
And with Tuesday night’s performance, it was well worth the wait.
Top-seeded Minnesota had an offensive outburst and shot past the sixth-seeded Washington Mystics 101-81 to take Game 1 of the semifinals on Tuesday night at Williams Arena.
“We were obviously ready to play. We were anxious, we hadn’t played in so long,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “I was sure that they were tired of hearing from me and tired of being at practice. They played with energy and obviously we made shots. When you make shots, everything is good.”
Everything was working in Minnesota’s favor in the game, including having just about everything fall offensively.
The Lynx finished with a total of 12 threes in the game, which is a new franchise playoff record for most threes in a game. The previous record was nine against Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 2012.
They also finished with the highest team three-point percentage (70.6 percent) in the team’s playoff history (57.1 percent at Phoenix on Sept. 25, 2011).
“Renee (Montgomery) has been shooting well the last few games, so for the rest of us that’s what we’ve been doing the last eight days,” Seimone Augustus said. “Getting shots up, getting reps up and trying to create a situation where we can loosen up the defense for Sylvia (Fowles).”
Augustus led the way for Minnesota in the game, scoring a season-high 24 points and adding five rebounds and three assists. Renee Montgomery had 18 points (including four threes), which is her new playoff career-high, Sylvia Fowles had 18 points and seven rebounds, Maya Moore had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists, Rebekkah Brunson had nine points and three rebounds and Jia Perkins added eight points and three rebounds off the bench.
Elena Delle Donne had 17 points and six rebounds and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt added 16 points and four rebounds to lead Washington. Emma Meesseman had 15 points and three rebounds, Ivory Latta had 10 points and Natasha Cloud finished with eight points and three assists.
“We got bombarded. When you play a team that makes 60 percent of their shots and 70 percent from three, I’m not sure they even knew we were out there for about 15 minutes,” Mystics head coach Mike Thibault said. “If they shoot like that the rest of the series, it’s going to be a quick series. . . We have to make an adjustment.”
With the win, the Lynx take a 1-0 series lead over the Mystics in the best-of-five series.
“We learned a lot from the regular season games in terms of how they would match and they learned a lot about us,” Reeve said. “They exploited a lot of things that we thought they would, so I think both teams will go back and look at some things. There’s no doubt there will be some adjustments (in Game 2).”
Highlight Of The Game
As time ran down at the end of the third quarter, Montgomery hit an acrobatic three that put her up to 16 points, including three three-pointers in the third quarter alone.
That basket gave Minnesota an 84-56 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter.
The Numbers Game
- Minnesota finished shooting 59.4 percent from the field in the game, while Washington finished shooting 44.6 percent.
- The Lynx led by as much as 29 points in the game. The Mystics led by as much as four.
- Minnesota out-rebounded Washington 31-27 in the win.
Player Of The Game
Tuesday night’s Lynx Player of the Game goes to Seimone Augustus.
Augustus tallied a new season-high in the win and shot 11-of-17 from the field, including going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.
“The player of the game, by far, was Seimone Augustus,” Reeve said. “She’s a player that during the regular season, you can’t play her 30-plus minutes and expect her to be able to do this in the playoffs. We want her ready in playoffs to do these sorts of things. I’m really happy that she responded the way that she did. . . When Seimone plays well, we don’t lose.”
The Lynx will host the Mystics in Game 2 of the semifinal round of the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday night at Williams Arena. The game will be aired on ESPN2, 106.1 BOB FM and TuneIn Radio.