Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said the fourth quarter on Sunday started badly and got worse.
“We came out and turned the ball over the first two possessions," Reeve said. "The very first possession, I’ll own it as a coach when you try to run some things we’re not used to running. We had put a new play in and were trying to run that a couple times and we were trying to run that play at that point. It got us in trouble, we didn’t handle it very well and turned it over."
Point guard Lindsay Whalen lost the ball out of bounds on the first turnover. Reserve guard Candice Wiggins made a bad pass for the second turnover.
"We were a little out of character. Indiana is a big reason for the way that we played. We counted; of the first five possessions [in the fourth quarter], we scored one time – Whalen got a layup," Reeve said. "Other than that, and even with that, we were down three with five or six minutes to go and they made plays.
"They made the tough, dirty, hard plays. We got in the lane and they blocked our shot. They competed, they contested every shot. That led to a couple easy run outs for them and as soon as they got that separation it was basically over.”
Erlana Larkins' rebound basket with 3:19 left gave Indiana a 72-62 lead -- that's separation -- and led to Reeve calling a timeout.
Larkins was not on a WNBA roster in 2010 and 2011, but she has emerged as one of the Fever's top players in the playoffs. She had 16 points and 15 rebounds.
"Sometimes players think that they’re really good," Reeve said, "and they’ve been good for so long and they’re really good in college and all of a sudden they get cut and they don’t know what to do.
"It is how you handle those moments. I don’t know Larkins that well, but clearly she was a player that listened to whatever advice she got – whether it was the coaches when they cut her or people like Taj [McWilliams-Franklin]. You go overseas and you have to figure it out. You have a choice, you can think it was everybody else’s fault except yours or you can accept the information, absorb it and [employ] it and clearly she did.”
Larkins played for the New York Liberty in 2008 and '09 after college at North Carolia. But the Liberty waived her before the start of the 2010 season and Phoenix cut her before the 2011 season. She has played in Turkey the past three winters.
“We have to find her early and put a body on her," Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson said. "She is aggressive and she is going to keep going – that’s the reason she is out here. She is going to go and crash [the boards] and get them some extra possessions. We have to match her will and match her intensity.”
"We had a great week of practice," Brunson said after Game 1. "We went over everything we could have possibly gone over, but they came out and they were ready to win. [Indiana] played great.”
FOURTH QUARTER SHOTS
How the Lynx fared on the shot chart in last 10 minutes:
0 to 6 feet: 1 for 7... four of these shots were blocked
7 to 15: 0 for 1
16 to 20: 0 for 3
21 and longer: 1 for 7