Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - After a middling performance in just
escaping the playoff's opening round, Minnesota wanted to make a statement.
Maya Moore scored 20 points with five rebounds and five assists and Seimone
Augustus added 16 points, seven assists and six boards, as Minnesota downed
Los Angeles, 94-77, in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Rebekkah Brunson posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for
Minnesota, which is trying to become the first team to repeat as WNBA champs
since the Sparks accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002.
Candace Parker led all scorers with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Alana
Beard added 16 points and Kristi Toliver recorded 12 for the Sparks, who swept
their way into the Western Conference finals, but failed to gain any momentum
and saw their hopes fade in the second quarter.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Sunday in Los Angeles. The Lynx are just
4-21 all-time in the Sparks' home arena.
After a back-and-forth first quarter, the defending WNBA champs took to the
interior and built a comfortable margin by halftime. Brunson and Augustus were
the key contributors early, scoring 13 of the team's first 15 points in the
second period, including Brunson's layup that opened a 31-20 margin.
Moore's triple capped eight straight points for a 34-20 lead, and the Lynx
continued the long-distance barrage with two more threes, the last by Augustus
that pushed the score to 46-26. The Sparks sliced into the lead, but Lindsay
Whalen's bucket beat the buzzer for a 48-31 lead. Whalen, who played with a
broken left ring finger and a bruised left wrist, finished with 12 points.
The Sparks trailed thanks to Minnesota's 50 percent shooting and 22-11
The Lynx fed off the home crowd as they have all season, riding the emotion to
a large lead they didn't relinquish in the second half, improving to 19-1 at
home this season.
The advantage grew to 57-33 on Taj McWilliams-Franklin's jumper with just
under six minutes to go in the third, but Los Angeles showed a little spark
late in the period, slicing the deficit to 66-53 on Beard's jumper in the
The margin whittled down to 10 at one point, but Minnesota never felt
threatened in the fourth, pushing the lead back to 89-72 on Moore's fadeaway
with just under two minutes to go.
The Sports Network