Saint Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Lynx took game two of their semifinal series versus the Phoenix Mercury, 96-86 in a contest that even left coach Cheryl Reeve perplexed. Both teams combined for 54 fouls on the night, which slowed the pace significantly.
“I really don’t even know where to begin. It says the game took two hours and fifteen minutes, but that’s got to be a typo, it felt like it was like four hours”, Reeve said.
Maya Moore accounted for 26 of the Lynx 96 points, including going 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Lindsay Whalen had 16 points and Sylvia Fowles notched 14 while grabbing nine rebounds.
Minnesota looked to continue their game one performance, as they routed Phoenix Wednesday. As was the case then, fouls plagued the Mercury in game two, and defensive woes were Minnesota’s. Center Britney Griner picked up two quick fouls for the visitors, both coming within the first two minutes of play, resulting in her being substituted for Isabelle Harrison. Griner however, would not be long for the bench.
With the Lynx picking up momentum and starting to distance themselves, Mercury coach Sandy Brondello inserted Griner back into the game with 3:23 remaining, and Minnesota up 24-13. Griner would then pick up her third personal foul with under a minute remaining in the first as the Lynx would close out the quarter up nine.
Phoenix closed the gap to 6 points with 4:27 left in the third period, which proved to be the closest they would get until a Diana Taurasi three-point basket brought them to within the same margin with 25 seconds left in the contest. But Whalen sealed it with a dagger from behind the arc.
Moore said unpredictability is a part of postseason play.
“This is the playoffs, you’re going to get tested, you have to expect anything at this point,” she said. “You just have to find a way to get it done and to stay true to your identity and for us, it’s being the best defensive team and the best offensive team, that’s our goal.”
Taurasi lead the Mercury with a game-high 31 points. The series now moves to Phoenix for two games, beginning Sunday. Taurasi is glad for the return.
“Going home is going to be nice, and on Sunday, we’re just going to have to be better than we were in these two games to beat this team, because as you guys watched tonight and in Game 1, they’re rocking on all cylinders,” Taurasi said.