WNBA: Lynx tie up Finals
MINNEAPOLIS -- 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.
MINNEAPOLIS - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Fever held a 41-39 lead at halftime after a four-point play in the final seconds. Indiana guard Maggie Lucas hit a 3-pointer and was fouled with 2.6 seconds left. She hit the ensuing free throw.
January led the way for Indiana with 11 first half points, while Fowles led all scorers with 14. Moore needed more than 13 minutes to record a point, and had just five at the break, although she led all rebounders with six.
NOTES: Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said there was no extra free-throw practice Monday or Tuesday, despite her team missing eight foul shots in the series opener. “We’ve been one of the best free-throw-shooting teams all season. It’s just like, when it rains, it pours,” Reeve said. “It was one of those days. We talked about it. We know it was a missed opportunity, when you lose a game and you miss eight free throws.” ... Fever F Tamika Catchings’ appearance in Tuesday’s game tied her with Taj McWilliams-Franklin with 64 WNBA postseason games played, the most in league history. ... Lynx C Sylvia Fowles, who came to Minnesota from Chicago as part of a three-team deal in July, turned 30 on Tuesday.