The intensity level of this series ramped up about ten notches tonight.
In evening this best-of-five series at a game apiece, the Lynx ramped up the aggressive play. Or, if you’re Fever coach Stephanie White, the Lynx gooned it up. Guess it depended on your perspective.
After the game White went off on the officiating, calling it a travesty the way her star, Tamika Catchings, was treated. Catchings picked up her fourth and fifth fouls mid-way through the third quarter. It’s not surprising that the Lynx took advantage. Down nine early in the third, the Lynx finished the quarter on a 20-7 run to take a four-point lead into the fourth.
Game three is Friday in Indiana.
Here are some thoughts on the game
--Lindsay Whalen came out and was far more aggressive than she had been in a while. But the turning point in this game may have been coach Cheryl Reeve’s decision to go with a small lineup for much of the second half, one that included Anna Cruz and Renee Montgomery at guard, Augustus at small forward, Maya Moore at power forward and Sylvia Fowles at center. Cruz and Montgomery were very good defensively, forcing the Fever into 14 second-half turnovers.
--Fowles was very, very good. She had 21 points and nine re bounds. She had two assists and only two turnovers.
--Moore had two very different halves. Reeve said the team’s slow start – and Maya’s slow start in particular -- may have been due to the team being to geeked up for the game. Reeve called Moore’s first half – five points on 2-for-5 shooting – awful. But once she started letting the game come to her she was really good. She had 14 points, three assists and four steals in the final two quarters, scoring eight of her team’s 14 points in the fourth quarter.
--Anna Cruz was, in particular, very good on defense. She scored six points, had a team-high five assists. She was driving the Fever guards crazy. Fever coach Stephanie White likened her to a gnat you want to slap. She meant that in a good way.
--Rebekkah Brunson continues to struggle a bit, though she’s playing pretty good defense on Catchings. Brunson now has just six rebounds in two games, just one on offense. And this from the WNBA’s career playoff leader in offensive rebounds had just one through two games.
--The Lynx won thanks to a 14-point edge in points in the paint, a 21-8 edge in second-chance points and a 14-8 edge on the break. That more than made up for the fact that Indy made five of 11 three-pointers and the Lynx were 0-for-8.
That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you after shootaround in Indiana Friday morning.