Minnesota Lynx sweep 2013 WNBA Finals, defeat Atlanta Dream 86-77 for title
The Minnesota Lynx held off a feisty Atlanta Dream squad 86-77 to earn their second WNBA title in three years. The newly crowned 2013 champions, who won the title in 2011 but lost in the finals last year to the Indiana Fever, redeemed themselves to close out this year’s best-of-five series with a 3-0 sweep of Atlanta.
While the Lynx came out of gate on a hot streak to take a 25-17 after the first quarter, the Dream outscored the Lynx 20-15 in the second and narrowed the deficit to three, 40-37, going into the break after rookie Alex Bentley scored in the final seconds and drew a foul.
Maya Moore led the Lynx with 23 points. She was named the 2013 WNBA Finals MVP, averaging 20.0 points per game during the three-game series. She was in familiar territory, playing in the same arena where she won three high school championships.
“This is very, very satisfying because I think it was a mental test for sure, and you’re playing with the best athletes in the world,” said Moore of winning the title. “This season, bringing in new people, a new piece, a new center and just having that gel and working really hard on our chemistry by just making sure we’re constantly checking in on each other and doing things together and enjoying the journey. It doesn’t really get any better when you enjoy yourself when you’re winning.”
Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen had 15 points each. Brunson pulled down 12 rebounds and Whalen had six assists. Seimone Augustus finished with 14 points while Janel McCarville contributed 10.
Tiffany Hayes came off the bench to lead Atlanta with 20 points followed by Bentley’s 18. Angel McCoughtry finished with 13 points. Erika de Souza scored 12 and tallied nine rebounds.
The Lynx finished the postseason with a perfect 7-0 record, becoming just the second team in WNBA history to go 7-0 in postseason play (Seattle, 2010). Minnesota became just the fourth team in WNBA history to reach the WNBA Finals in three consecutive seasons (Houston, 1997-2000; Los Angeles, 2001-03; Detroit, 2006-08). Head coach Cheryl Reeve discussed the season and Minnesota’s trajectory to the championship.
“Our third year in The Finals, our second championship, and each journey is different, and this one was really special. The first one of the climb, there’s no doubt, that was fun, and then we came up short last year. Yeah, there were a lot of people that didn’t believe that we were still one of the top teams in the league.”
The Lynx will hold a parade down Nicollet Mall on Monday, October 14 beginning at 11:30 a.m. CT. The parade will begin at the corner of 12th Street and Nicollet Avenue before turning down 7th Street toward Target Center. Following the procession, the team will hold a pep rally at Target Center open to the public beginning at 12:15 p.m. CT Doors to the Target Center will open to the public at 11:30 a.m. CT.
Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen: Postgame Comments
Q. What are we, like five or six miles from your house? Can you talk about winning a championship this close to your home and what that means?
MAYA MOORE: It means the world, just because I feel like it’s just?? I’m spoiled right now because I have so many people around me that I appreciate and who have helped me so much from middle school to high school. I’m sure there’s some Connecticut faithfuls here, too, and then to be able to go out on the court and do it with this awesome team that really just?? when you think of all the things that you want your team to be, this team has it, and we really?? we don’t just talk about it, we do it. And I mean, just looking at how we played today, just how we shared the ball, what is it, five, almost six people in double figures? And everybody doing their strength tonight. You couldn’t really?? we had ups and downs. It wasn’t easy. That’s what a championship is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be hard. And when it got hard we came together and stuck with it and secured that victory. I’m just really proud.
Q. Maya, tonight you scored 23 points but they were a quiet 23. They were done, like you said, with your teammates. You didn’t have a spurt, you just played consistently throughout. Can you talk on that a little bit?
MAYA MOORE: Yeah, it wasn’t my most proud game. I had some mental errors??
LINDSAY WHALEN: I liked it.
MAYA MOORE: Oh, thanks. There’s always ways I could have been better for my team, but I didn’t stop playing. I never stopped playing. I always tried to move on to the next play, and so does this team. We know it’s not going to be perfect, but the sign of a mature championship team is how are you going to get through those tough moments, and that’s what we did. We had several tough moments where they were hitting up characteristic jumpers with a hand in their face, and we just had to keep playing through it.
Our defense would miss it a few times because they were being really aggressive, but we just kept playing and when it counted we got the stops we needed, and Lindsay Whalen was just leading us as usual, getting us to the free?throw line, getting us in our offense. What did you have, 15? 15 and 6, really? You dropped dimes and scored points?
LINDSAY WHALEN: I had a lot of free throws.
MAYA MOORE: Yes, you did, you were aggressive, got to the line, 9 for 11, good job.
Q. Lindsay, are you the one who taught Janel, that little between the legs thing she did? This is her first championship, you’ve won one before, if you could talk about what this means also to her.
LINDSAY WHALEN: That’s just Janel. I don’t know, to pull that off in The Finals, Game 3, on the break?
MAYA MOORE: She’s ridiculous.
LINDSAY WHALEN: Five or six point tooth and nail game, to go between your legs to another post player, that’s JMac. That’s what she brings to the team. She was unbelievable tonight. I really thought honestly she set the tone for us tonight at the start. I think she had six of the first eight points, hit a rainbow jumper early that was at the end of the shot clock, and I just thought she was unbelievable.
You know, when it was coming down to possibly getting Janel this off season, I don’t know, these are kind of some of the nights that I had envisioned, her, the chemistry with the team, knowing how good of an off?the?ball partner Maya is, how good of a shooter Seimone is, Brunson rebounding, myself driving. I just felt like she would really fit the team really well, and I mean, I think that just her coming in and her commitment to everything this season, just being a teammate, being a great player, you know, really showed tonight, everything that she was able to bring to us this season kind of showed to her with her jumpers, her play?making ability, her assists. It was just fun to see her make plays like that because you know she’s having so much fun. That’s how she’s always played, that’s how she grew up in Wisconsin playing, and just being her teammate in college and then coming here to the WNBA now for a season, having this be her first championship with us is just really special.
Q. Maya, can you talk a little bit about what makes this championship different as opposed to other ones that you’ve won? And also some of those others have been against Angel McCaughtry. Can you talk about the mastery of her?
MAYA MOORE: How many questions was that?
LINDSAY WHALEN: Compare this to other championships.
MAYA MOORE: Compared to other championships? Why do you ask me to compare my children? I mean, it’s like comparing kids. I love all my championships. They each are special.
LINDSAY WHALEN: I like that.
MAYA MOORE: You can’t make me choose.
This one was amazing. As a pro?? I can kind of separate it at the level, high school, college, Olympics and pro. Pro is a different beast. It’s a different animal. You’re playing at the highest rate. The month of August I think we played like every other day for seven days twice, and in college you’re playing maybe once, maybe twice a week. So just the intensity, the focus of the turnaround of you’ve got to prepare for Seattle and then we’re playing someone completely different the next day, the variety of styles we have in the West really is a challenge.
This is very, very satisfying because I think it was a mental test for sure, and you’re playing with the best athletes in the world. This season, bringing in new people, a new piece, a new center and just having that gel and working really hard on our chemistry by just making sure we’re constantly checking in on each other and doing things together and enjoying the journey. It doesn’t really get any better when you enjoy yourself when you’re winning.
Q. Some of those came against McCoughtry.
MAYA MOORE: Yeah, she was a focus when I was in school. I think she was two years older than me, so we played them my freshman and sophomore year, and she was just coming into being who she is now as far as just the dominant scorer. We knew she could get to the hole, but she started to shoot the ball much better, and I didn’t guard her the most. I’d say Kalana Greene when I was in college guarded her more because I was the 4 mainly in college, so now as a 3 I’m getting more time to guard her, and you just really have to move your feet. She’s really good in this direction.