MINNEAPOLIS – Midway through the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, Minnesota power forward Rebekkah Brunson rose in the lane toward the basket with her team trying to mount a rally.
Indiana center Erlana Larkins delivered the emphatic rejection.
Brunson was knocked to the floor as her shot was swatted, and Minnesota’s chance to win the series opener essentially fell down with her. The Lynx were trailing 65-62 with about 5 minutes left, but they never came closer. The Fever quickly tacked on a layup on the other end and cruised to a 76-70 victory on Sunday night.
“It was what I call a thunder block,” Fever coach Lin Dunn said. “She is rising up and she just slides that ball, and it just kind of set the tone: ‘Hey, we’re here for real, and we are ready to play.’ ”
The Lynx, looking to become the league’s first repeat champion in 10 years, are at full attention.
“We want to make sure that we’re not a team that gets out-hungered. That is really important,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said: “We’ve got a lot to overcome, and we’ll see if we’re able to.”
Game 2 is tonight at Target Center, before the best-of-5 series shifts to Indiana on Friday night.
“We’ve got a lot of competitors on our team that really hate to lose, so I guess in Game 2 you’ll see the difference,” Lynx shooting guard Seimone Augustus said.
The two-day layoff between games probably wasn’t enough for shooting guard Katie Douglas, though. After spraining her left ankle in the last game of the Eastern Conference finals, Douglas was missing from Game 1. Dunn said she’s unlikely to play tonight.