If it was up to her, Carolyn Peck would be in Minneapolis in person for Game 2 of WNBA Finals on Tuesday.
“I would love to be at the game,” admitted the ESPN studio analyst Monday in a MSR phone interview. “Are you kidding me?”
Peck watched the first game Sunday from ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters, which Indiana won to take a 1-0 lead over Minnesota. “Both teams had a lot of nerves in the first quarter, and it was one of the lowest scoring quarters in WNBA playoffs.”
The 10-10 tie after one quarter was the second fewest first-quarter points for both teams in postseason history. “I think both teams were trying to feel each other out,” surmised Peck.
As Game 2 approaches, the former WNBA coach and general manager offered her thoughts for both Indiana and Minnesota: Indiana’s “ball screen action” was effective in Game 1. Fever guards Briann January ran almost to perfection (a team-high 19 points), as did Shavonte Zellous (10 points off the bench), which bothered Minnesota all night long.
“If you help, then they do a good job of getting the ball to people,” explained Peck. “If you’re late to help, they are guards who can score. If you switch it, they are guards who can go off the dribble and attack your post players.”
Minnesota must defend this better — “bust the plain” when Indiana screens, advised Peck.
Offensively the Lynx must look even more inside to center Sylvia Fowles, who had 21 points in Sunday’s loss, continued Peck. “I think if they explore more post action of the size advantage that they have,” she said of the 6-6 center. Minnesota also must get more than a point from forward Rebekkah Brunson.
“If I’m Indiana, I’m concerned that Seimone Augustus only had nine points (in Game 1),” said Peck. “She’s a big gamer and I expect her to contribute more in Game 2.”
Finally, Peck said she looks forward to Tuesday’s game: “The biggest thing I’m excited about is… it looks like this series potentially could go five. [It is] a fun series.”
The MSR’s WNBA Finals coverage, including pre-game insights, post-game notes and comments continues throughout the series.
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.