Minnesota Lynx trounce Atlanta Dream in game one of WNBA Finals, 84-59
Maya Moore scored 13 of her 23 points to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 84-59 breezy victory in game one of the WNBA Finals Sunday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis. With a large crowd of 13, 804 cheering them in the stands, the Lynx broke away from Atlanta to end the half with a 44-25 lead after trading baskets with the Dream during the first quarter.
“I felt the Lynx came out on fire,” said Atlanta head coach Fred Williams. ” They’ve been here before, home stands, with the crowd and stuff. They shot very well around the perimeter. Our defense?wise still going to get a rotation, but we were one step slow on the weak side for defense.”
Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry headed to the bench during the second quarter after accumulating three fouls before the break. The Lynx outscored the Dream 20-9 in the second quarter.
Seimone Augustus, who scored with 19 points in the game, also finished the first half in double digits with ten.
Lynx head Cheryl Reeve was pleased with her team’s overall execution, especially the first half.
“We opened the first 20 minutes the way that we wanted to,” said Reeve. “It was establishing how we were going to play and it was going to be off our defense, our tough defense. And once we cleaned up some of the turnovers, we got rhythm on offense and played off our ‘D’ and had a solid first half. All in all, the game execution was solid.”
It was more of the same in the third quarter with the Lynx scoring 8 points in the final minute before entering the fourth quarter leading 68-43.
Moore added seven rebounds to her game high point total. Monica Wright had a post-season career-high of 20 points plus five rebounds.
Williams praised the play of Wright.
“Monica has been that way for them ever since she’s been in a Lynx uniform. She comes off the bench, gives the spark, like Tiffany Hayes for us, when she was coming off the bench for us. That was one of my concerns before the game, Monica’s speed and turning the corner and being able to distribute the basketball. She did a good job tonight.”
Reeve help Wright prepare for the game with an anecdote from the 2001 Finals when she was assistant coach with the Charlotte Sting.
“I shared a story with Monie about the 2001 Finals and the Charlotte Sting. We ended up in the playoffs and knocked off the No. 1 seed in Cleveland. And I told her it wasn’t the star players, it was Tonya Edwards and Shalonda Enis, not two of the star players. So giving her a game plan, make her feel comfortable to accept it. Anytime she has that focus about her and poise, really good things happen to her.”
McCoughtry led Atlanta with 17 points. Aneika Henry scored 14 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Erika de Souza contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
Even though Williams said that “the Lynx got the first one and threw the first punch,” he is optimistic about his team’s chances in game two, “we have to play harder next time we can on the court.”
He addressed how his team will have to prepare for the next matchup.
“Well, you go in the locker room and you talk about, like I said, about the getting down and rolling up your sleeves and getting after it for the next game. ”
The two teams meet again in the best-of-five series Tuesday in Minnesota at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN 2.