MINNEAPOLIS -- So here is where things sat late Sunday night at Target Center:
The Lynx had just rocked the house, the Atlanta Dream had, rather meekly, been rolled. The Lynx were celebrating and Dream star Angel McCoughtry might have been the most frustrated person in downtown Minneapolis.
Seems just like old times, doesn't it?
Led by Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus and a dynamic off-the-bench performance from Monica Wright, the Lynx beat the Dream 84-59 in the first game of the best-of-five WNBA finals.
This series, a rematch of Minnesota's three-game sweep in the 2011 finals, kept the Lynx perfect in the postseason while ending the Dream's four-game postseason winning streak.
The Lynx used a 15-0 second-quarter run to take control of the game, then put it away for a good with a 12-0 run that started late in the third quarter.
The biggest problem? Naming the hero. Was it center Janel McCarville, who played despite some nasty back pain? Or Moore, who hit 10 of 16 shots for 23 points? Or Augustus, who scored 19 on 9-for-15 shooting? Maybe Wright, who came off the bench to score 20 of her own.
Or the defense of Rebekkah Brunson and Augustus, who held McCoughtry to 6-for-24 shooting? Or Minnesota's defense in general, which held Atlanta to 31.2 percent shooting on the night.
Together that was more than enough for an Atlanta team that seemed lost much of the night. McCoughtry, the MVP candidate who led the league in scoring for a second consecutive season, finished with 17 points. But she needed 24 shots to get there. And she spent much of the night missing shots, asking for calls, getting called for four fouls herself.
There were 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second quarter when the Lynx pushed their game to an entirely new level. Atlanta had whittled Minnesota's lead from 11 down to six on Aneika Henry's putback.
And then: boom.
Wright started it with a driving layup. After a McCoughtry miss at the other end, Lindsay Whalen drove the lane, was knocked sideways by Henry, made the shot and the free throw. After another Dream miss, Augustus scored. Then Moore's steal translated into Wright's driving layup.
And the Lynx weren't done.
For the Dream, it just got worse. Starter Tiffany Hayes was shaken up under the Lynx basket, then McCoughtry was whistled for an offensive foul, her third. Whalen hit Brunson for a jumper, Moore hit a 6-foot bank and Augustus scored on a layup.
Just like that, in less than three minutes of clock time, the Lynx had turned a six-point game into a 21-point lead, and the Lynx still led by 19, 44-25, at halftime. It was the worst-scoring first half for the Dream all season.
The Lynx still led by 17 late in the third quarter when they essentially finished the game off. Augustus scored five points and Wright had a three-point play in an 8-0 run to end the quarter, a run that pushed to 12-0 when Minnesota scored the first four points of the fourth quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve started emptying the bench.
The victory pushed the Lynx home playoff record to 13-2 at Target Center, with the rematch scheduled for Tuesday night at Target Center. Atlanta, in the finals for the third time in four years, fell to 0-7 in championship series play.
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