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Lynx Overcome Mystics for Playoff Win
September 14, 2017

There is an old saying in the sports world that translates into something like when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This usually applies to football, but after the Minnesota Lynx overcame Washington in the second game of their WNBA playoffs, it can be used in women’s professional basketball as well.

Off to a poor start, the Lynx fell behind, 29-19, after Allison Hightower scored on an easy lay-up to close out the first quarter. Two nights earlier, Minnesota had cruised to a 24-16 first quarter lead over the Mystics on their way to an 86-72 victory. This win clearly would be harder to accomplish.

Mystics star Kristi Toliver had been held to three points in the opener, but came back with determination, pouring in 13 points before the halftime buzzer. Washington’s other dynamo, Elena Delle Donna, as usual, was an unstoppable offensive force and also hit for 13. Maya Moore, meanwhile was held to six points, and the Lynx trailed, 47-45, at the break.

Minnesota stayed close to Washington as the result of stellar play by Sylvia Fowles, who earlier was named MVP of the WNBA. Fowles scored on eight baskets out of 10 shots as the Lynx shot 57 percent in the half.

In the third period, a Toliver three-point basket put the Mystics up by 53-45, but this is where Minnesota dug deep into their well of grit and determination to fight back. Moore hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 61 as the Williams Arena crowd of 9,033 went wild. By the end of the quarter Minnesota had a 69-64 lead.

It was then that an old Williams Arena favorite, former Gopher favorite point guard Lindsay Whelan took over. In only her second game back from injury, Whelan kept the crowd rocking with her adept ball-handling and fearless drives to the basket. Held to two points in limited action in the series opener, Whelan three key baskets, including a driving reverse layup to give Minnesota a 10-point lead.

Moore came out of her funk and scored 16 second-half points, and Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson finished in double figures.

Toliver and Delle Donna each had 25 points for the Mystics, who, if they ever add a third all-star performer, will be a force in the WNBA for many years to come.

Minnesota won the season series with the Mystics 3-0 and now leads in the playoff series 2-0.

“Lindsay Whelan is tough. She literally willed us to victory,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said after the game. “This is why you work so hard,” said Whelan.

The series now shifts to the Verizon Center in Washington DC for the third game September 17.

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