Web Editorial Associate
The Los Angeles Sparks edged past the Minnesota Lynx 85-84 on Sunday night in Game 1 of the 2017 WNBA Finals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Here are our three observations from the game:
Impressive Comeback By Minnesota
Trailing by as much as 26 points midway through the first quarter, many teams would have a hard time climbing out of that hole.
But the Lynx, although they ultimately fell short in the end, did just that.
In a pretty impressive comeback, Minnesota fought and clawed its way back into the game. The Lynx even went on to take a one-point lead with 6.5 seconds left in the game, thanks to a layup by Maya Moore.
Minnesota didn’t come out on top in the game, but the fact that the Lynx still put themselves in a position to win the game is impressive in itself.
“That wasn’t, by any means, what we wanted for that first quarter. It was a combination of us not scoring the ball and they were hot,” Moore said after the game. “I’m happy with the way we responded. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”
Perkins Gave Lynx Spark Off The Bench
In 27-plus minutes on the floor, Jia Perkins helped spark that second-half comeback for the Lynx.
Perkins finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals coming off the bench for Minnesota and began the third quarter with three straight baskets.
Perkins also finished with a game-high plus/minus of plus-25.
“Jia gave us some tremendous minutes. When we were struggling to score, she went out there and made three straight shots. Her defense gave us really good activity,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We don’t get back into the game without Jia. I was really, really proud of her and what she did for us.”
Along with Perkins, Moore tallied a team-best 27 points and four rebounds, Sylvia Fowles had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Seimone Augustus had 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Lindsay Whalen had five points and six assists.
Williams Arena Was Rocking
In Game 1 on Sunday, the Lynx fans definitely brought it to Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
With an announced crowd of 11,823, both the Lynx and Sparks could feel the impact of the fans during the game.
“We’ve played in three different arena’s here (in Minnesota) and every time it hasn’t feel like we were ever in a different place,” Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike said after the game. “I think that’s really remarkable and great for the women’s game. To see all the fans out here, we could play in Chicago and the Minnesota fans would come. I think that’s pretty amazing.”
But for Game 2, the Lynx are calling for even more fans to help create a homecourt advantage as they try to even the series:
The Lynx and Sparks are back at it at 7 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday in Game 2 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The game will be aired on ESPN2, 106.1 BOB FM, TuneIn Radio and the Lynx App.