Fowles, Moore help Lynx even WNBA Finals
The Sports Xchange MINNEAPOLIS - If bad blood makes for good basketball, the rest of the WNBA Finals should be even more entertaining. In a game they desperately needed to win, the Minnesota Lynx got 21 points from center Sylvia Fowles, knotting ...
The Sports Xchange
MINNEAPOLIS – If bad blood makes for good basketball, the rest of the WNBA Finals should be even more entertaining.
In a game they desperately needed to win, the Minnesota Lynx got 21 points from center Sylvia Fowles, knotting the WNBA Finals at one game each by beating the Indiana Fever 77-71 on Tuesday.
Both games ended with the loser airing grievances about the officiating.
Maya Moore added 19 points for Minnesota, which spent half the game frustrated by the Fever defense, again, before turning the tables in the third quarter to earn the pivotal win.
“She was just awful early, with shot selection and the way she was playing,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It was a case where our team was so amped up early to play, and Maya was the most amped up. She just had to settle down. It wasn’t for a lack of wanting to do good things.”
The Fever got 17 points from Briann January and contained Moore for the game’s first 25 minutes, but could not bottle the Lynx star long-term. Tamika Catchings helped the Fever with 11 points despite playing the entire fourth quarter with five fouls. It was those fouls, and a perceived lack thereof on the other team, that had the Fever coach fuming after the game.
“I learned a valuable lesson today. I learned it pays to go public with comments about officials,” said first-year Indiana coach Stephanie White.
She was referring to comments made on Monday by Reeve, who complained that her team didn’t get many calls in Game 1.
“This game was a bloodbath,” White continued. “I have never seen a player of Tamika Catchings’ caliber get so disrespected in my life. Never. And to me, that’s a travesty.”
Trailing by as many as six points late, the Fever cut Minnesota’s lead to three points, at 72-69, with less than a minute to play. But the Lynx hit five free throws in the final 28 seconds to win at home. Minnesota, which missed eight free throws in losing Game 1, was 17-of-18 from the line on Tuesday.
“We definitely tried to make a great effort to be the aggressor,” Moore said. “Obviously that’s going to be the goal of both teams. I thought we were able to do that for longer stretches tonight.”
A strong start in the third quarter boosted the Fever lead as high as nine before Moore finally got into the action. She keyed a 10-0 Minnesota run near the midway point of the third, and continued to feed Fowles, as the Lynx got the crowd back in the game and took a 63-59 lead into the fourth.
Game 3 is Friday evening in Indianapolis. Indiana can win the best-of-five series on its home court, hosting the next two games.
“I told our team we are going to bottle up every sense of frustration and every sense of anger, every sense of knowing what we didn’t do tonight, put that in a bottle, and let is explode when we get back home,” Catchings said, visibly shaking at the postgame news conference. “Minnesota played very, very good tonight. We played good in spurts.”
Indiana emerged from the first quarter’s end-to-end action up 24-20. Minnesota led 4-2 early, before the Fever quieted the crowd with 16-4 run and led by as many as 10 at one point. But Minnesota kept finding Fowles under the basket, and her 10 points in the opening 10 minutes kept the Lynx close.
January 7-13 2-2 17, Coleman 3-11 2-2 10, Larkins 4-5 1-2 9, S.Johnson 4-10 2-2 10, Catchings 3-10 4-4 11, Zellous 2-6 0-0 4, Howard 2-2 2-2 6, Kizer 0-2 0-0 0, Lucas 1-1 1-1 4, Achonwa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 14-15 71.
Moore 6-17 7-7 19, Augustus 5-14 1-2 11, Fowles 10-13 1-1 21, Whalen 3-12 2-2 8, Brunson 2-5 0-0 4, Cruz 1-5 4-4 6, Peters 2-3 2-2 6, R.Montgomery 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-71 17-18 77.
Indiana 24 17 18 12 - 71
Minnesota 20 19 24 14 - 77
-3-Point GoalsIndiana 5-11 (Coleman 2-4, Catchings 1-1, Lucas 1-1, January 1-3, S.Johnson 0-1, Zellous 0-1), Minnesota 0-8 (Augustus 0-1, Cruz 0-1, R.Montgomery 0-1, Whalen 0-1, Moore 0-4). Fouled Out-None. -ReboundsIndiana 30 (Catchings, Larkins 9), Minnesota 35 (Fowles 9). -AssistsIndiana 15 (Catchings, January 5), Minnesota 20 (Moore, Cruz 5). -Total FoulsIndiana 20 (Catchings, Zellous 5), Minnesota 17 (Fowles 5). A-12,134.