Veteran, rookie launch Lynx to first WNBA Finals

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2011 - 7:16 AM

McWilliams-Franklin, Moore lead way in sweep of Mercury.

view larger photos

  

PHOENIX - The league's rookie of the year and the oldest veteran joined forces Sunday, and together they made the Lynx unstoppable.

Maya Moore scored 21 points --hitting six of eight three-point shots -- as the Lynx dominated Phoenix 103-86 to win their best-of-three Western Conference final series in two games.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin, the Lynx's 40-year-old center, matched Moore's 21 points. Hers came mostly inside, on short lefthanded hooks or bank shots.

So in a season of firsts, the Lynx have another. They are in the WNBA Finals, a best-of-five series starting next Sunday at Target Center.

Their opponent will either be Atlanta or Indiana. Their Eastern Conference series is tied 1-1 after the Dream's 94-77 home victory over the Fever on Sunday. The deciding game will be Tuesday in Indiana.

"The feeling right now is satisfying but not complete," said McWilliams-Franklin, who topped her season high of 18 points. "It is like you sit down to a great dinner. You eat your dinner, you feel great, but you still want that dessert.

"And you want that dessert to be the best dessert ever ... and the finals is going to be that dessert for me."

McWilliams-Franklin, whose 52 playoff games tie her for third in league history, was a starter for Detroit on the Shock's WNBA championship team in 2008. She signed with the Lynx as a free agent in February. On Sunday, she was 8-for-14 from the field and had seven assists and six rebounds.

"Taj killed us from the beginning," Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. "She may be slow in step-throughs and put-backs, but she hit them."

Said McWilliams-Franklin: "I take advantage of my slowness, as funny as it [sounds]. DeWanna Bonner [of Phoenix] is an athletic, lean, tall post player.

"There is no way I am going to get around her, so there is something to be said for those slow moves that lull you to sleep. You think I am doing one thing and I do something else."

Moore, obviously, had never participated in the WNBA playoffs before, but she was the star on two NCAA championship teams at Connecticut. She knows the playoff game.

"We made some big, back-breaking plays at some great times to really steal the home-court advantage" from the Mercury, Moore said.

Two second-half Lynx possessions particularly stand out.

With three minutes left in the third quarter, Seimone Augustus of the Lynx scored on a layup and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but Rebekkah Brunson grabbed the offensive rebound. Seconds later, Candice Wiggins made a three-pointer to give the Lynx a 65-59 lead.

Moore's fifth three-pointer -- with 3:48 left to play -- and a free throw on the same play gave the Lynx an 89-77 lead and started what proved to be a game-clinching 8-0 run.

"I really feed off my team, and when we feel good as a unit, everybody's offensive game gets a little pep," Moore said.

There was so much energy among the visitors that six Lynx finished in double figures -- the five starters as well as reserve post Jessica Adair, with 10 points.

Phoenix won WNBA titles in 2007 and 2009 and was 12-3 in elimination games, but the Mercury couldn't keep up as the Lynx shot 54.2 percent from the field.

Diana Taurasi and Bonner each had 22 points and Candice Dupree 18 for Phoenix.

"Every time we hit a rough patch, we came together as a team, which got us to this point," Taurasi said. "Tonight we just didn't have enough to get over the biggest hump, which is Minnesota."

McWilliams-Franklin, who played a game-high 38 minutes, said she is glad there will be time to rest a little before the Lynx's next game against whoever prevails in the East.

"We don't have a preference," McWilliams-Franklin said. "We are just happy to be in the finals. Bring on Atlanta, bring on Indiana."

  • related content

  • Lynx-Phoenix game recap

    Monday September 26, 2011

    A five-point possession late in the third (Seimone Augustus layup, Candice Wiggins three-pointer) gave the Lynx a six-point lead.

  • Lynx-Phoenix boxscore

    Monday September 26, 2011

  • Eastern finals: Dream beat Fever to even series

    Monday September 26, 2011

    Iziane Castro Marques stepped in for fellow Brazilian Erika de Souza and delivered a scoring outburst that extended Atlanta's season.

  • WNBA Finals schedule

    Monday September 26, 2011

    lynx DEF. phoenix mercury 2-0

  • Candice Wiggins, Monica Wright (right)

  • GAME 2: LYNX 103, PHOENIX 86 WNBA Finals : Lynx vs. Atlanta or Indiana 7:30 p.m. Sunday • Target Center
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - LP: A. Ranaudo 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: C. Morton 4
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees 1 Top 8th Inning
Tampa Bay 6
Cincinnati 0 Top 8th Inning
Chicago Cubs 7
Chicago WSox 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Kansas City 3
Cleveland 4 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 1
Detroit 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Minnesota 2
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 7th Inning
St. Louis 2
Los Angeles 2 Top 6th Inning
Colorado 5
San Francisco 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Arizona 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
Texas 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 0
Philadelphia 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close