A retired basketball official who I sat next to at the Lynx’s 10-point win against Mercury Friday night consistently shook his head at the officiating. During halftime he received a text at halftime that called one of the three zebras “single-handedly terrible.”
It may have been an ugly win, but “Every time you get a win, no matter how ugly, we’re happy,” noted Lynx guard Renee Montgomery.
“You take the win any way you get it,” added Lindsay Whalen, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the decisive fourth quarter. “There were ups and downs, back and forth, but I thought we held our composure in both halves and came out on top.”
But come Game 3, Sunday in Phoenix, Whalen stated, “We got to do better. Everybody all-around has to do a little bit more. They are a very good team,” she said of the Mercury.
Sylvia Fowles concurred with the point guard: The newly named defensive player of the year had only one rebound in the first half, and finished with nine for the game along with 14 points. Both Fowles and Phoenix’s Brittney Griner, who had zero first-half boards, dealt with quick whistles, forcing both pivot players to the bench early and limited their effectiveness.
“I’ve got to do a better job,” admitted the Lynx center. “It’s the second game in a row I let my team down and that’s unacceptable. I’ve got to be ready to play in Phoenix and expect the unexpected.”
“We’re a detail-oriented team,” noted Montgomery. “We missed out on a couple of things we do well. We have to clean that up.”
The Lynx need to “tighten it up on defense,” observed Tonyus Chavers, a former star for the Minnesota Fillies of the old Women’s Basketball League in the 70s. She is the team’s “coach” from the stands.
Chavers told the MSR Friday, “I’m not worried” but pointed out that Minnesota’s offense is often fueled on their defense. “I think we are in good shape,” said Chavers as she left for the evening after the game.
“We hope on Sunday to come out and do our best,” said Whalen. “We got to come out focused from the tip.”
Check back for continuous coverage of the 2016 WNBA playoffs.
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.