Lynx look to take 2-0 lead in series vs. Mercury
The Minnesota Lynx continue their quest for a second consecutive WNBA championship on Friday when they play host to the Phoenix Mercury in Game 2 of their semifinal series at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Top-seeded Minnesota rolled to a 113-95 victory over eighth-seeded Phoenix in the series opener on Wednesday. The Lynx can take a commanding lead in the best-of-five series with another win in Game 2 before the set moves to Phoenix for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4.
The Lynx earned a double-bye under the WNBA's new playoff format and had not played since concluding the regular season Sept. 17, but they looked sharp in the series opener against Phoenix. Minnesota started the second quarter with a 19-4 run and went on to set a WNBA record for more points scored in regulation in a playoff game.
The Lynx shot a franchise-playoff record 63.9 percent, made 6 of 12 from 3-point range and amassed a 38-20 rebounding advantage. Maya Moore scored 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting to lead six players who scored in double figures for Minnesota. Lindsay Whalen recorded 19 points and seven assists while Sylvia Fowles had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
"They pretty much dominated us in every facet of the game," Mercury star Diana Taurasi said.
Taurasi scored 25 points for Phoenix, which upset Indiana and New York in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Brittney Griner scored 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting but grabbed only two rebounds. The Mercury shot 53.5 percent from the field and made 8 of 14 from beyond the arc.
"Neither coach was really happy with the defensive effort," Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve said. "No question that we'll both be hard at work improving that for the second 40 minutes that we play. I was obviously pleased with our offense."
Both teams could be short-handed at the center position. Reeve said backup Janel McCarville was unavailable in Game 1 because of back spasms. Phoenix backup Kelsey Bone left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to her left elbow.