Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals started out rough for the Minnesota Lynx, but they recovered and came up with big plays down the stretch to beat the Phoenix Mercury and force a decisive Game 3.
All-Stars Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen made big plays throughout Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, but fellow Olympian Seimone Augustus was ultimately the hero of the Minnesota Lynx’s 82-77 win over the Phoenix Mercury.
With the game tied at 75 apiece, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve called an out-of-bounds play that had Augustus follow Moore around a screen to clear space for a mid-range jumper and Augustus not only converted the shot but also drew a foul for a three point play that put the Lynx up for good.
But the Lynx wouldn’t even have been in position to win had it not been for the play of Moore and Whalen prior to that moment.
Moore bounced back from a poor Game 1 performance to score 13 of her game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, when the Lynx took their first lead of the game since its early moments. But once again, it was Lindsay Whalen whose heart helped to keep the Minnesota Lynx afloat in the face of a deep hole early in the game.
Similar to their Game 2 performance in the first round, the Lynx found themselves in a huge hole early as they got down by 22-9 after the first quarter. Rebounding helped them stay in it, especially with Mercury center Brittney Griner going without a rebound in the first half. But it was Whalen’s resolve, highlighted by scoring 12 of her 17 points in the second quarter, that helped keep the team in the game – it will go unnoticed in the box score, but she was the catalyst that got the team going with her grit and never-say-die attitude. After that extremely poor first quarter shooting performance, the Lynx would shoot 47.2% the rest of the way.
As the Lynx began heating up offensively, the Mercury saw their numbers go in the opposite direction. Diana Taurasi led Phoenix a team-high 23 points but shot just 4-for-14 in the second half. And after correcting the rebounding problem in the second half, the Mercury struggled to keep the Lynx off the free throw line in the second: the home team shot 16 free throws to the visitors’ 4 in the second half.
The teams will resume play on Tuesday on NBA TV in a decisive Game 3 to determine who goes the the 2014 WNBA Finals.
For more on the game and the series, check out our Mercury vs. Lynx storystream.