Tuesday night’s Game Two of the WNBA Finals was yet another showcase of one of the league’s all-time great teams, the Minnesota Lynx - the 2011 champions who lost the Finals in four games to Indiana last season and has won its four home playoff games in 2013 by an average of 25 points.
Minnesota shot a Finals-record 56.9 percent without even making a three pointer, in defeating the Atlanta Dream, 88-63, in front of a sellout crowd at the Target Center.
The Lynx can join the Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks, Detroit Shock, Phoenix Mercury, and Seattle Storm as franchises to own multiple titles with a win in Game Three at 5:30 p.m. PT Thursday in Duluth, Ga. (ESPN2).
“It’s exciting to be in the Finals, but we still have to remain focused,” guard Monica Wright said. “Atlanta isn’t going to give it to us, we have to remain strong. Angel (McCoughtry) obviously is a very tough player to guard, it took every single player on the court to guard her, not just one person, so she made it very tough for us tonight, we expect her to come out the next game on all cylinders. As far as offense, it was just the cherry on top of having a great season and being able to put the ball in the rim.”
McCoughtry, who entered Tuesday averaging a record 26.4 points per game in the Finals, was held to a Finals career low 15 in Game Two.
While the mission of the other veterans is to regain the championship, 30-year-old Janel McCarville is seeking her first.
McCarville, the former University of Minnesota center who replaced the retired Taj McWilliams-Franklin in the post for the Lynx this offseason, scored 11 points and grabbed seven boards in Game Two after averaging only four points per game during the postseason.
“It’s a focus for us to keep them off the glass,” McCarville said. “I can see it, I can’t quite taste it. We still have a lot of work ahead of us. By no means is the game in Atlanta going to be given to us. I think they’re going to come out more focused and their backs are against the wall, so they’ll come out and give it everything they’ve got, you can never underestimate them.
“I’m very hungry, the chance to win a WNBA championship, I’ve never had it before, so one more game to get it, we’ll definitely come out with everything we have. All of these players are hungry to get that championship back that they feel they’ve lost, I’m hungry to get the first championship of my career, so they’re going to have a tough task of containing us.”
Winners of 14 of the past 15, the Lynx would have won 15 straight if not for a one-point loss at Los Angeles Sept. 12. The loss just before that streak: by 13 Aug. 20 in Atlanta.
“It’s right there,” guard Seimone Augustus said. “We have 40 more minutes, 80 more possessions to get where we want to be and to get what we feel like we deserve.”