Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve likes Williams Arena and all. But if the WNBA finals return here for a Game 5, some repairs are going to have to be made.
With 13.1 seconds left in Tuesday’s Game 2, with the Lynx up two, Minnesota prepared to inbounds the ball after the Lynx had just forced a 5-second violation on the Los Angeles Sparks at the other end. But Lindsay Whalen’s pass to Seimone Augustus went awry when Augustus stumbled on the court, causing the ball to bounce off her out of bounds.
The good news is Rebekkah Brunson’s steal with 3.9 seconds left sealed the win. And that win evened the best-of-five series at 1-1. This has been a strange series so far. In Game 1 the Sparks led by 26 in the first quarter, but needed a last-second shot to win. Tonight the Lynx led by 20 in the third quarter but needed two defensive stops late to preserve the victory.
But back to that stumble.
“I told them, we come back here, we’ve got to make sure we get that fixed,’’ Reeve joked, suggesting it was the floor’s fault. “Because that’s just not fair. That’s not fair to her.’’
But seriously: It was a play, at a critical time, that could have changed the game. Which is why Whalen watched with horror as the it unfolded.
“My heart just dropped,’’ Whalen said. “I saw her get open. And as the ball was in mid-air, that’s when you start to see her tumble.’’
Said Augustus: “I don’t know, my big toe got stuck.’’
It was another thrilling end to a finals game between the Sparks and Lynx, who can’t help playing tight games.
But this time the Lynx played better defense at the end.
And so now the best-of-five series heads to Los Angeles tied at one game each.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
--It was a redemptive effort by Rebekkah Brunson, who sat most of Sunday’s game after starting slowly. It wasn’t perfect; she still has to hit more shots when the Sparks leave her unguarded to double up on Sylvia Fowles. But she scored 12 points with three assists and three blocks. And her defense on Alana Beard on the game’s final possession clinched the win.
--How many times have we seen Lindsay Whalen set the tone? She came out tonight and scored seven of her 14 points in the first quarter as the Lynx raced to a 28-10 lead.
--The Lynx won tonight with five starters scoring in double figures and while getting just seven points off the bench. Maya Moore scored 13, but was 4-for-10. Seimone Augustus scored 11, but was also 4-for-10. On a night when the Lynx managed just 25 points and shot 35.7 percent in the second half, it was defense that got it done.
--Sylvia Fowles. The zero rebounds the Lynx got in the first quarter of Game 1 was fresh in her mind. Determined to be aggressive, she pulled down a finals-record 17 rebounds to go with 13 points and two blocks.