Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Lynx hoping for big crowds in WNBA Finals like last season

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Lynx Updated: October 9, 2012 - 10:32 PM

Lynx officials are optimistic that the crowds for the WNBA Finals will be bigger than they have been for the first two rounds.

Last year, the Lynx averaged just under 10,000 fans (9,845) for the three games in the first two rounds. This season through three games -- two in the conference semifinals and one in the conference finals just like last year -- the Lynx are averaging 8,583.

That's a pretty significant dropoff, more than 1,200.

But there's hope. The WNBA Finals are next, starting Sunday, and the Lynx will have at least two home games. The first two games in the best-of-five series are at Target Center, Sunday and the following Wednesday..

"Tickets are selling well, but I don't have an exact number,:" a Lynx spokesperson said.

There is something to be said of a team's first run to a WNBA championship, especially one so unexpected. There is a little magic there. A desire to root for the hometown underdog.

This year, everything is different. The Lynx are the defending champions, had the best record in the league at 27-7 for a second year. And most league observers, before the playoffs began,  picked them to win the title again.

Oh, and the Timberwolves, who share Target Center, are practicing and going to start their season on time. So maybe pro basketball fans are saving their money to buy Wolves tickets.

Hard to say. What is certain is the Lynx will have to sell a lot of tickets to come close to last year's numbers when they averaged almost 12,000.

Here is how the Lynx drew in the 2011 WNBA Finals:

Western Conference Semifinals

Lynx 66, San Antonio 65 ... Att--11,891

Lynx 85, San Antonio 67 ... Att--8,734

Western Conference Finals

Lynx 95, Phoenix 67 ... Att--8,912

WNBA Finals

Lynx 88, Atlanta 74 ... Att--15,258

Lynx 101, Atlanta 95 ... Att--15,124

Comments: Playoff opener drew well, but then there was a dropoff in Games 2 and 3.The first three games drew 29,537, for an average of 9,846.

Then there was a big jump in the WNBA Finals with two crowds of 15,000-plus. Total playoff attendance was 59,919 for an average of 11,984.

And here are the turnstile numbers so far:

Western Conference Semifinals

Lynx 78, Seattle 70 ... Att--9,213

Lynx 73, Seattle 72 .... Att--8,023

Western Conference Finals

Lynx 94, Los Angeles 77... Att--8,513

Comments: Playoff opener has had the largest crowd so far. Through three games, Lynx have drawn 25,749, that's 3,788 fewer than last season through three games and two rounds of the playoffs. They are averaging 8,583 or 1,263 fewer than last season.

STEADY SEIMONE

Seimone Augustus scored a team-high 21 points on Sunday as the Lnx beat Los Angeles 80-79 at Staples Center. The win clinched a spot in the WNBA Finals for the Lynx and was only the fifth win in franchise history in that arena.

"She was huge for our team," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She had some decent opportunities like I knew she would be getting against a zone. She would make a three and next be in the lane shooting a runner. She is just steady."

LAST WORD

Reserve guard Monica Wright, who made the game-winning three against Los Angeles on Sunday: "Los Angeles is a great opponent. They gave us a great series. But at this point, it's not about saving yourself."

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