Lynx get stopped cold in blowout loss

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 20, 2012 - 7:26 AM

Indiana's Shavonte Zellous joined Tamika Catchings in pestering Minnesota at every chance.

view larger photos



INDIANAPOLIS - Game 2 of the WNBA Finals drew the largest national television audience in 13 years of women's basketball.

Two nights later, ESPN2's second-half ratings for Game 3 had to be near an all-time low. Lynx fans had to turn their sets off in horror at halftime. Indiana fans had to be bored, their team was crushing its opponent so easily.

The Fever embarrassed the defending league champions 76-59 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and that 17-point final margin was deceivingly small. Indiana, which leads the best-of-five series 2-1, led by as many as 37 points late in the third quarter.

Indiana coach Lin Dunn called off her supercharged troops in the fourth quarter, when Lynx reserves outscored mostly Fever bench-warmers 21-6.

"We had turnovers [at] the start of the game," Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen said. "That along with some offensive rebounds just kind of snowballed."

The Fever had six steals and six offensive rebounds in the opening quarter. Yikes.

By late in the second quarter, the Lynx were buried under an avalanche of snowballs, trailing 40-20. Guard Shavonte Zellous scored a career-high 30 points for Indiana. Fever team leader Tamika Catchings had 17 points, 11 in the first quarter. And 6-1 center Erlana Larkins had 15 rebounds.

The Fever led 45-27 at halftime, 70-38 after the next quarter.

"I thought for three quarters we probably played as well as any Fever team I've ever seen," said Dunn, in her fifth season as Indiana's coach. "And I can't say enough about the fans. The fans were super, screaming, hollering, all that red. I was getting dizzy. I loved it. It was wonderful."

The announced crowd was 18,165, a sellout.

Now Indiana's and Catchings' first league championship is theirs if they win on Sunday.

"We have to force a Game 5," Lynx guard Seimone Augustus said, "and take it back home where we know it is going to be a tough place for them to play. We have to throw everything at them."

Friday the Lynx struggled in almost every category. They shot 35.1 percent, got outrebounded 39-30, committed 18 turnovers to the Fever's 13. And a team that averaged a league-record 21 assists during the regular season had a meager six, tying the record for fewest in the WNBA Finals game.

About 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, with her team trailing by 22 points, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve put in five reserves.

When those backups got outscored 10-0, the starters returned but also had little success.

So the Lynx face an elimination game Sunday.

Catchings won't let her teammates get too excited, though. In 2009, Indiana had a 2-1 lead over Phoenix in the WNBA Finals and lost the series.

"I felt like we celebrated too much after Game 3 in 2009," she said. "I don't want anybody celebrating, none of that. We don't celebrate early."

Maybe Zellous, who averaged 7.5 points per game this season, can celebrate a little bit. She started Friday because Katie Douglas missed her third game in the series because of a sprained left ankle.

"I was fired up for this game," Zellous said. "That Game 2 left a bad taste in our mouth."

Zellous had a so-so game Wednesday -- 16 points, six turnovers -- in the Fever's 83-71 loss at Target Center.

"One thing [Zellous] brings to the team is toughness," Dunn said. "She thrives in that tough, physical environment. Tonight they were remiss in giving her some open looks early, and she got into a rhythm. Then it was too late."

Dunn said there is a chance Douglas will play Sunday, but only if she can play at her highest level, because of how intense this series is.

"We have to be prepared for an unbelievable game with them," she said. "We do not want to go back to Minnesota [for Game 5]. Do not."

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Indiana 76, Lynx 59

    Saturday October 20, 2012

    The Lynx were routed by Indiana in Game 3.

  • Postgame: Lynx starters had two assists in lopsided loss

    Saturday October 20, 2012

    The Lynx were basically awful Friday. Their assist to turnover ratio was one to three. They shot 35.1 percent and trailed by 37 points at one point.

  • Chart: Shavonte Zellous on fire

    Friday October 19, 2012

    For about 1 1/2 quarters -- from 8:37 of the second to 2:28 of the third -- Indiana's Shavonte Zellous was in the zone. Here's a breakdown:

  • Recap: Indiana 76, Lynx 59

    Friday October 19, 2012

    The quick Indiana guard scored a career-high 30 points. She hit threes, drove to the hoop and was a pest in general for the Lynx.

  • Reeve on Fever coach: 'We don't answer to her'

    Saturday October 20, 2012

    Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said on Friday she likes Indiana -- she coached at Indiana State once. But her relationship with the coach of the state's WNBA team is strained...

  • Lynx star Seimone Augustus ran into Indiana's Tamika Catchings during the third quarter of Friday's Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, a Fever blowout.

  • WNBA FINALS game 3: indiana 76, lynx 59 Game 4: 7 p.m. Sunday at Indiana • TV: ESPN2 • Series: Fever leads 2-1
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 93 FINAL
Chicago 113
Golden State 86 FINAL
LA Clippers 100
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 60 FINAL
Wichita State 54
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters