Game 1of the best-of-five series will air on ABC and can also be seen on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square in New York City.
“We came close, just couldn’t make the plays when we needed to”, said Tina Charles, who finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead New York. After losing to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals last season, the Lynx avenged the defeat by sweeping the Mercury in the conference finals this year to set up a rematch with the only team to beat them in the finals. “We are going to have Tameka [Catchings] involved one way or another whether she is leading the offense or using her for spacing, by the way, she is getting double teamed and defended”.
“This is awesome”, Catchings said. “We feel that energy when we’re on the floor, and I wanted to give it to my team when I was on the bench”. “I thought [January] played great tonight”. Maya Moore made the technical free throw, but made just one of two of the next two to make it a three-point game.
“She’s just playing with a different poise”, White said, “and she’s playing at a different pace, and she’s reading her options and understanding and knowing when to take her shot, when to attack the rim, when to find her teammates. And with Marissa and her ability to stretch the defense… she hit a critical 3-point shot for us, and had a critical defensive play at the end of the game”. Indiana won Game 1 of that series as well en route to the franchise’s only championship. Understandably, they tried to get the ball into Brittney Griner. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do all year, lead my team in deflections”. As Moore gained control of the ball in traffic, the referees blew the whistle for a foul on Phoenix, sending Moore to the free throw line with less than two seconds to go.
Catchings and Indiana looked ready to cruise to the finals, building an 18-point lead in the third quarter. While she had a lot of experience as an assistant, she took over for Hall of Famer Lin Dunn this season. The 2001 first round draft pick has been loyal to Indiana since turning pro, and upon retiring after the 2016 season, Catchings will have played for the Fever a total of 15 years not counting her missed season in 2001 with a torn ACL.
And even when January had to leave the game after picking up her sixth foul – and a technical – with 1:12 left, she was confident that the Fever would win.
Conversely, Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve will be coaching in her fourth WNBA Finals.
Coleman’s trey that White referenced came just after the Lynx had taken their only lead of the second half, 61-60 with 4 minutes, 27 seconds left in the game. Neither has looked completely healthy, but the Lynx have gotten contributions from other players such as Anna Cruz and Devereaux Peters.