Phoenix rises up to top Lynx in Game 1 of playoff series

  • Article by: JEFF LOCKRIDGE , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2014 - 6:50 AM

view larger photos

  

– The defending WNBA champs must find some answers in a hurry if they want to prevent a changing of the guard in the Western Conference.

The Lynx came out sluggish, league MVP Maya Moore struggled mightily and the Phoenix Mercury dominated Game 1 in the best-of-three conference finals 85-71 Friday night at US Airways Center.

“This is the playoffs,” Moore said. “There’s not really a lot of surprises when you don’t play with the intensity you need to — especially on the road. There’s nothing that they did that was super new. It was just a matter of them executing their offense. We have to be more aggressive.”

Brittney Griner had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and Penny Taylor had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Mercury, which won for the fourth time in five meetings with the Lynx this year.

Moore, who averaged 23.9 points during the regular season, was limited to nine and didn’t score until the 3:16 mark of the second quarter when she cashed in an offensive rebound.

By then the Mercury was imposing its will on both ends en route to a 42-31 halftime cushion.

Game 2 is set for Sunday afternoon at Target Center. Game 3, if necessary, will be back in Phoenix on Tuesday night.

“We just stayed on [Moore],” Griner said. “We know Maya is a great player. She’s going to get her buckets. All you can do is just try to frustrate them, stay on them, don’t let them get any easy cuts, don’t let them get any easy looks. [DeWanna Bonner] and everybody did a great job of guarding her.”

Phoenix went on a 14-0 run midway through the third quarter as the margin quickly ballooned to 63-39, at which point the Mercury simply was toying with the Lynx before a raucous home crowd.

Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen got hot from the perimeter in the fourth quarter and then scored an uncontested layup off a steal to trim the lead to 75-64, but that was the first and only surge Minnesota made. Phoenix answered with the next four points.

Whalen finished with 25 points to pace three Lynx in double figures, although it was hardly enough to offset Minnesota’s 39.7 percent shooting and 15 turnovers that led to 24 Phoenix points. The Mercury had all five starters in double figures, shot 44.6 percent and won the rebounding battle 45-31.

The Lynx, which entered the season with a 14-game winning streak over the Mercury, never had lost a conference finals game before Friday and swept Phoenix on this stage en route to their 2011 and 2013 WNBA titles.

Phoenix has little regard for those stats after improving its league-best record to 32-5 (3-0 in playoffs) and making a giant statement in a matchup of the league’s top two teams. The Mercury hasn’t lost two in a row all season and hasn’t lost at home since May 23.

“We’re not ever going to say we can’t beat a team twice in a row,” Augustus said. “Why not? We have no choice but to beat them twice in a row if we want to advance to the finals.”

Moore attempted only eight shots and missed her first four. She was 1-for-6 through the three quarters and picked up her fifth foul in the final quarter, adding to her visible frustration.

Griner scored twice in the opening moments and Phoenix bolted to a 9-0 lead before the Lynx could get their bearings. Augustus (12 points) rallied the Lynx, and Rebakkah Brunson (12 points) converted a pair of putbacks that helped Minnesota knot the score at 12.

Diana Taurasi (17 points) bounced back from two first-quarter fouls to give the Mercury a 40-29 lead late in the second quarter, and Phoenix never was seriously challenged.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Phoenix 85, Lynx 71

    Friday August 29, 2014

  • Game 1 recap: Phoenix 85, Lynx 71

    Saturday August 30, 2014

    GAME RECAPIMPACT PLAYERPenny Taylor, MercuryHer all-around game stands out. Taylor had 16 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.BY...

  • Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi (3) tries to keep the ball away from Minnesota Lynx's Lindsay Whalen, left, during the first half in Game 1 of the WNBA Western Conference Finals basketball game, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Phoenix’s Brittney Griner tried to keep the ball in bounds as the Seimone Augustus defended during the first quarter Friday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Virginia 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 11:00 AM
Georgetown
St Johns 11:00 AM
Villanova
Arkansas 11:00 AM
Florida
Maine 12:00 PM
UMBC
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Alabama
Lafayette 12:00 PM
Lehigh
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close