MINNEAPOLIS – These WNBA Finals are not for the feeble. Seimone Augustus and the Minnesota Lynx toughened up after a rare loss and a soft performance at home in the opener by wearing down the Indiana Fever.
Augustus scored 23 of her 27 points in the second half to help the Lynx surge past the Fever 83-71 on Wednesday night to even the best-of-5 series at one game apiece.
“We’re going all out. We don’t want to look back on this situation and regret anything,” Augustus said.
Maya Moore pitched in 23 points and the defending champion Lynx forced the Fever into 24 turnovers, 15 after halftime. Tamika Catchings led the way as usual with 27 points and eight rebounds, but the Fever’s defense faded after a dominant start that forced the Lynx to miss 11 of their first 14 shots.
They let the Lynx score 29 points in the third quarter and bring an already-loud crowd into the game even more. Catchings offered an alternate theory, though.
“Seimone Augustus went against us. That’s what happened,” she said.
The series now moves to Indiana. Game 3 is on Friday, and Catchings predicted an even more physical match.
“It was pretty rough out there, and we’re going to have to adapt to that,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn, who called this the most physical game she’s seen in 42 years. “We’ll go home and we’ll be ready.”
The Fever played without shooting guard Katie Douglas for the second straight game, the sprained left ankle she suffered at the end of the Eastern Conference finals still not ready for action. Then in the second quarter of this one, backup Jeanette Pohlen hurt her left knee and was taken to the locker room for further examination. She didn’t return, and the lack of depth hurt the Fever down the stretch.
Lynx reserve guard Monica Wright had five steals, and coach Cheryl Reeve said she changed the game with her defensive intensity. Inside, Rebekkah Brunson and Taj McWilliams-Franklin limited Erlana Larkins to three points on 1-for-6 shooting.