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Lynx one win from WNBA title

The SportsXchange

Another blowout victory took the Minnesota Lynx to the brink of another WNBA title.

Seimone Augustus scored 20 points to help the Lynx defeat the Atlanta Dream 88-63 in Minneapolis on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals.

The dominant performance followed Minnesota's 84-59 victory on Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-five series. The Lynx can clinch their second championship in three years Thursday in Atlanta.

"It's right there," Augustus said. "We have 40 more minutes, 80 more possessions to get to where we want to be and get to what we feel like we deserve. But we know that Atlanta is going to bring everything. They're going to throw the kitchen sink at us. We're expecting them to come out and just try to do whatever they can to not be eliminated in Game 3."

Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen each scored 14 points and Rebekkah Brunson added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota.

Angel McCoughtry, the leading scorer in the league during the regular season, scored 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting for Atlanta. She made just 6 of 24 shots in the first game.

The Lynx out-rebounded the Dream 40-22. The rebounding difference has cost Atlanta in the series because the Dream like to attack in transition.

"You can't transition until you rebound," Atlanta's Armintie Herrington said. "We have to get to those missed shots in order to go the other way. I think we got some steals, I think we did OK that way. We just have to keep pushing and keep digging and keep being aggressive. We have to make it tough on them."

The Lynx weren't satisfied with everything. They committed 20 turnovers and occasionally weren't sharp.

"You know, of course, it wasn't our best game," Whalen said. "We had a lot of turnovers tonight, some miscues and things like that. But all things we know we can fix and clean up. We'll watch the video. We'll learn from it."

Atlanta hung tough early before Minnesota's balance took over. The Lynx led 27-16 at the end of the first quarter.

McCoughtry didn't make her first field goal until 5:18 remained in the second quarter.

Atlanta trimmed the deficit to eight on a 3-pointer by Alex Bentley, but Minnesota closed the half on a 13-6 spurt. Janel McCarville scored in the final second of the half on an assist from Whalen as the Lynx led 51-36 at halftime.

McCoughtry committed her fourth foul with 7:39 left in the third quarter, but she remained on the floor.

The Dream cut their deficit to 10 on a bucket by Tiffany Hayes. Atlanta could have trimmed the margin to single digits, but McCoughtry missed a pull-up jumper, and the Lynx regained control with a quick 5-0 run. Minnesota increased its lead to 68-52 by the end of the third quarter.

The Lynx emptied their bench with 3:01 left in the fourth quarter while holding an 82-58 lead.

Now the Lynx just need to handle business one more time. Moore said overconfidence won't be an issue.

"It's going to be the most focus you'll see from us," Moore said. "There are a couple of things on defense we want to clean up as well. We have more work to do and more toughness to bring since we are on the road."

Atlanta still expects to make it a series.

"We're not giving up," Herrington said. It doesn't matter how many we're down. We're going to go into it just like we always do. We're going to play for each other and play hard and try to get a 'W.' Nobody's giving up in this locker room. We still have each other's back and we still want a championship."

NOTES: Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve had her famous jacket-throwing tantrum during Game 2 of last year's finals against Indiana. She was issued a technical foul and fined. The Lynx won that game but lost the next two and the series. ... Atlanta fell to 0-8 in WNBA finals games. ... Minnesota shot 49.4 percent from the field in Game 1 and increased its percentage to 56.9 in Game 2. Atlanta, which shot 31 percent in Game 1, shot 35.8 percent in Game 2.
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