The defending champions matched the Fever blow for blow, then rode their stars to a Game 2 victory.
Game 2 of the WNBA Finals was the kind of tussle that keeps Taj McWilliams-Franklin from retiring.
Bodies were crashing, into each other and to the wooden floor. Coaches were getting technicals. Fouls were called -- occasionally.
When the on-court collisions ended and the confetti starting falling from the Target Center ceiling, the Lynx and an announced crowd of 13,478 celebrated another victory at home.
The defending champions pounded Indiana 83-71, tying the best-of-five series at 1-1. The next two games are in Indianapolis.
The obvious star for the Lynx was Seimone Augustus. On the same day the seven-year veteran was chosen to the All-WNBA first team, the 6-foot guard scored 27 points, 23 in the second half.
"How Seimone got open [was] I set great screens," said McWilliams-Franklin, who turns 42 on Saturday.
McWilliams-Franklin also helped the Lynx shackle Erlana Larkins. The Fever center had 16 points and 15 rebounds in Indiana's 76-70 victory on Sunday in Game 1. Three nights later, Larkins went from superhero to Jane Doe. She had three points and five boards.
One statistic pops out: The Lynx had 24 second-chance points, the Fever three. The home team outrebounded the visitors 32-20, too.
"We got killed on the boards again," said Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, who had 27 points and eight rebounds, both Fever highs.
"It was just bodies flying, hitting, chucking, slamming, shoving and we didn't respond to that," Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "If that is the way the game is going to be played, we have to match that."
McWilliams-Franklin sure hopes the series remains physical.
"I get beat up all the time," she said. "First game now, Seattle, L.A. It's a habit. I'm a center. I am used to it.
"It's a tough sport. ... It's like wrestling. I love WWE and a lot of the skills I know from it come in handy."
Indiana built a 23-11 lead early in the second quarter before McWilliams-Franklin, playing in a record 62nd playoff game in her 14-year career, started a Lynx rally with a basket and one of her four assists.
By halftime the Lynx were within two.
The game turned late in the third quarter. Trailing 55-54, the Lynx went on a 17-2 run. Maya Moore, who had 23 points, started it with a three-point play the traditional way. Augustus followed with a three-pointer with 3 seconds left in the quarter.
Larkins made her only basket on six shots as the fourth quarter began, but the Lynx scored the next 11 points and the lead was 71-57.
Game over. The Lynx's home record this season improved to 20-2, including four playoff victories.
Augustus scored eight of the Lynx's 17 points in that huge run.
"I always have a fire lit under me," Augustus said. "When you play under coach [Cheryl] Reeve, nothing is ever good enough for her.
"I didn't have the best first half, but I knew that shots were going to fall if I continue to take shots that I normally take."
Augustus was 2-for-8 shooting, for four points, at halftime. She finished 11-for-23 and made three three-pointers. Her seven baskets in the third quarter and nine in the second half both tied the WNBA Finals record.
"She has to have MVP-like performances in order for us to be successful, and we saw that tonight," Reeve said.
But Catchings is not discouraged. She said momentum has not swung in the Lynx's favor.
"We lost Game 1 against Atlanta, came back and won two," Catchings said. "We lost Game 1 against Connecticut and came back and won two. We lost tonight. All we need to do is win two."
The Lynx can say the same.
|New England||2/1/15 5:30 PM|
|William & Mary||100|
|South Dakota St||86|
|San Jose St||52|
|San Jose St||80||FINAL|
|San Diego State||50||FINAL|