As the old cliche goes, it is tough to win a championship. It is even tougher to repeat that performance. The Lynx opened the WNBA Finals at home against the Indiana Fever, and from the opening tip, it was the Fever that looked like the defending champions as they played a physical brand of basketball that threw the Lynx and their fans for a loop losing for only the second time on their home court 76-70.
"Well, I thought it was a great game," said Fever head coach Lin Dunn. "I thought we did the things defensively that we needed to do. We didn't rebound quite as well as I'd hoped we would. I think that the rebounding helped keep them close."
The teams traded buckets in the first quarter and both teams shot the ball well from the field. Rebekkah Brunson led the Lynx with eight big points in the first quarter. Tamika Catchings scored eight of her team high 20 points in the quarter setting the tone.
Indiana started the second quarter on a 7-2 run taking a 10 point lead with 7:35 left in the quarter. Following the timeout, the Lynx went on a 6-0 run of their own to cut the lead to four.
Then things came ungled, literally.
Brunson was called for an offensive foul on a clear flop by the Fever defender. Two posessions later, Maya Moore took what appeared to be a charge which wasn't called sending head coach Cheryl Reeve into a crazed state. Later in the second Monica Wright was run over by a Fever player and somehow picked up the personal foul. Seimone Augustus picked up the technical foul as boos cascaded from the 14,322 fans at Target Center.
Following a timeout after the technical, the Lynx cut the deficit to three points as the Fever left the court with a 43-40 lead.
The second half saw much of the same. Physical play by the Fever that forced the Lynx into bad shots with the shot clock winding down and ultimately 39 percent shooting from the field.
The story was told in the fourth quarter as the Lynx shot just two of seven from the floor and were outscored 20-12. Erlana Larkins scored 16 points for the Fever, but her 15 rebounds, half of her teams total, along with her grit and determination were the story for Indiana.
"The game was as hard as we thought it would be," said Reeve. "I thought through three quarters we for the most part responded and kind of hung in there. And then the fourth quarter, we just stopped scoring."
Game two of the five game series is set for Wednesday night at Target Center.
Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman bought 500 upper deck tickets for Wednesday's game. The first 250 people to call the Lynx box office will receive a pair of tickets for Wednesday's game two. Those interested can call 612-673-8400 Monday morning at 8 a.m.