Lynx sweep Atlanta to win second WNBA crown in three years

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 11, 2013 - 11:08 AM

Maya Moore, playing in familiar surroundings, led the Lynx to their second title in three years.

– Because Game 3 was so competitive, the Lynx couldn’t start celebrating until there were mere seconds left.

But with a few ticks left on the clock, during a timeout, the party started. Assistant coach Jim Petersen hugged Lindsay Whalen. Seimone Augustus got the bum rush from a slew of teammates, then was enveloped. Maya Moore jumped up and down. Ready-made WNBA championship hats and T-shirts were quietly passed toward the Minnesota bench.

Thursday, in their ersatz home gym and their collective backs against the wall, the Atlanta Dream fought hard, ceding runs then clawing back.

But the Lynx had too much.

After an 86-77 victory at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, the Lynx had swept the WNBA Finals and polished off a perfect 7-0 run through the playoffs. They were league champions for the second time in three years and it was time to smile, hug, scream and yell.

“This is so much fun, too much fun,” said Whalen, drinking from a cup on one side of her mouth, out of a bottle on the other. “In 2011, after we won, it was one of the best nights of my life. I wanted to have that same feeling, that same celebration. This is unbelievable.”

As it has been so often this season, the title-clinching game was a collective effort. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Moore who was playing only miles from where she went to high school and in the arena where she won three state championships. Tough from start to finish, Moore scored 23 points before she hoisted the series MVP trophy, one she swore she would share.

And why not? Janel McCarville had 10 points, eight in the first quarter. Whalen scored eight of her 15 in the second. Rebekkah Brunson, battling all night, got 10 of her 15 in the third. Seimone Augustus had eight of her 14 in the fourth.

The rallying cry all season was to get back a title that slipped away in a four-game loss in the 2012 Finals. Done.

The fact that Game 3 was tight after two consecutive 25-point blowouts made it even better.

“I’m glad Atlanta didn’t come out and lay down,” Augustus said. “They fought. They showed heart.”

Tiffany Hayes and Alex Bentley came off the Atlanta bench to score a combined 38 points. The Dream played tough defense.

The Lynx were leading 47-42 with 7:50 left in the third quarter when they made the game’s signature run. Over the next four-plus minutes, they managed a 13-2 spurt that started with a Brunson free throw and ended with Monica Wright’s three-point play with 3:20 left in the quarter.

Once again Atlanta fought back, getting within 10 entering the fourth and to within seven four times in the quarter, but it got no closer.

Then with three seconds left, it started. A stage was quickly erected. Owner Glen Taylor hoisted the championship trophy and Moore the MVP award.

Two titles in three years.

“Both are special,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, absolutely drenched. “The common denominator was we had to prove people wrong. Last year we had an opportunity [vs. Indiana in the Finals], and we let it slip away. That was motivation. We got here, we played great in the Finals. We were determined it wouldn’t happen again.”

But what about the first-timers? McCarville was out of the league when the Lynx won in 2011. This time, united with former Gophers teammate Whalen, she got to experience this for herself. It was her between-the-legs pass to Brunson after a steal was the signature moment of that third-quarter run.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here,” she said, “that’s for damn sure.”





 

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 71 4th Qtr 11:45
Utah 66
Denver 12 1st Qtr 6:20
LA Clippers 9
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 56 2nd Half 0:58
Alabama State 56
Prairie View 61 2nd Half 7:00
Ark-Pine Bluff 92
Texas 62 2nd Half 3:24
Iowa State 75
Texas Southern 69 2nd OT 5:00
Miss Valley St 69
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 2nd Half 2:33
Auburn 41
(15) Nebraska 61 1st OT
(20) Iowa 61

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