The Minnesota Lynx knotted the WNBA Finals at one game apiece on Tuesday night after a 77-71 win over the Indiana Fever.
Going into the second half down three, the Lynx outscored the Fever by 10 thanks to the resurgence of Minnesota's best player, Maya Moore, who scored 19 points on the night.
However it was the Lynx's Sylvia Fowles who led all scorers with 21 points along with nine rebounds as she was a force to be reckoned with under the basket.
Minnesota has had a difficult time against the Indiana Fever at home in the postseason. Entering Tuesday night, the Lynx were 18-1 against all other teams in the playoffs at the Target Center. Playing the Fever, they were just 1-2, including a Game 1 loss on Sunday.
Marissa Coleman's hot hand had as many points for Indiana as the Lynx scored in the first eight minutes of the game with eight.
Minnesota was looking for offensive answers, as Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus were held down all throughout Game 1 and starting Game 2. The two combined for just 13 points in the opener. The Lynx got a little bit more out of them on Tuesday as Whalen scored eight and Augustus recorded 11.
The Lynx didn't have to rely on them, though, or Moore for that matter. The Fever held Moore scoreless for the first 14 minutes of the game.
Instead, the Fever had their hands full all night with Fowles down low. In the first three minutes of the game, she had three offensive rebounds as she set the tone early on her big day, as pointed out by the Lynx:
Once the Lynx were able to push and dictate the pace of the game, they began cutting down on Indiana's lead that expanded to as much as 10 in the first quarter.
It didn't hurt that Indiana's star Tamika Catchings was held scoreless and relegated to the bench because of foul trouble. Minnesota was 3-11 from the field when Catchings left the floor. It hit six of its final seven shots to close out the first quarter.
With Indiana nursing a four-point lead and Whalen heating up, Catchings picked up her third foul of the night and was benched for the final seven minutes of the half. But Indiana's equal spread of scoring saw it leading at halftime thanks to a Maggie Lucas four-point play with 2.6 seconds left.
The Friendly Bounce had the look at the replay:
Catchings was back on the floor for the third, and she made her presence felt immediately, scoring seven of the Fever's first nine points. She would end the night with 11.
Indiana's second-half lead ballooned to as much as nine, but Minnesota went back to Fowles in order to stay in the game. The Lynx also went back to attacking Catchings, who picked up fouls four and five in the process.
In the blink of an eye the Fever's nine-point lead turned into a game tied at 54. A steal by Moore, which led to a fast-break layup by Augustus, gave Minnesota its first lead since it was 4-2, and it never looked back. It was all a part of a 13-0 run that forced the Fever to play catch-up for the first time on Tuesday.
Their four-point lead going into the fourth quarter was their largest of the night as they were getting it done down low, according to freelance reporter Scott Agness:
The Fever were flirting with disaster, though. Starting the fourth quarter, Catchings and Shavonte Zellous were on the floor with five fouls.
Their task to stay on the floor was made even more difficult when Moore got going. After starting the game 2-7 from the field, Minnesota's playmaker hit four of her next six shots. ESPN's Carolyn Peck knew Minnesota couldn't have finished it off without Moore:
Though Indiana's duo didn't foul out, Moore and Augustus were frustrating it on the offensive end, forcing the Fever into some untimely turnovers, which made their hopes of a comeback that much more difficult. After committing just three turnovers in the first half, Indiana gave up the ball 13 times in the second.
"Because this game was a bloodbath," Fever head coach Stephanie White said about Catching's foul trouble post-game, according to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star. "I've never seen a player, of Tamika Catchings' caliber, get so disrespected in my life. Never. And to me that's a travesty. That's a travesty."
The Finals shift to Indiana for Game 3, which will take place on Friday night as the Lynx look for their third title in five years. On its home court, though, Indiana is in pursuit of its second title since 2012, which also came against the Lynx.
Stats courtesy of WNBA.com.