Minneapolis, Minn. – The Minnesota Lynx evened their Finals series with the Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday in a dominating 79-60 win.
Maya Moore led the way for the Lynx with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Sylvia Fowles also added a double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Nneka Ogwumike had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, while Alana Beard had 13 points.
The Sparks set the tone in Game 1 Sunday, but game 2 got off to a different start for Minnesota and Moore, who was held scoreless in the Sunday’s first half. She came out firing Tuesday, scoring 12 of her 21 points in the first half and helping mount a 39-25 lead going into the break, after a 17-3 run to end the second period.
A third quarter Los Angeles run cut the host’s lead to three midway through, but Seimone Augustus ignited a Minnesota run that blew their lead back up to double digits in the fourth period.
Moore, who said she had a couple of sleepless nights after the first game, described her team as resilient, and said she sought to set the tone early in Game 2.
“I wanted to come in and bring that energy, so that’s what I kind of took on myself personally today,” Moore said. “It was contagious for me from other players who brought energy, and 1 through 11 it was probably one of our best games as far as energy in the playoffs.”
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve gave credit to Moore and her performance.
“Everybody asked me, how do I think Maya is going to respond from Game 1, and I said, if I know Maya, I know Maya hasn’t slept and Maya probably wanted to play yesterday and get right back to it,” Reeve said. “I think Maya, more than anything, just wanted for our team to play the way that we’re capable of playing, and I thought she gave us a big lift with her focus, her intensity.”
Truth be told, this was not unfamiliar territory for the Lynx, who had faced an 0-1 deficit following the opening game of last year’s Finals against Indiana. During that series, Minnesota bounced back in the second game to tie it, en route to their third championship.
Meanwhile, the Sparks will head into Game 3 Friday in Los Angeles looking to avoid a repeat performance of Game 2. Forward Candace Parker, who Minnesota held to just six points, noted how defensive stops were hard to come by.
“During that spurt we played with a lot of aggression and a lot of energy, and we were good at the point of attack and we were rotating and active, but after that we couldn’t get any stops,” Parker said. “We weren’t fluid offensively. To just score 60 points…something has to be different going into Game 3.”
Sue Favor co-authored this report.