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Minnesota Lynx 83, Indiana Fever 71

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve's jacket never had a chance Wednesday night at Target Center.

Turns out neither, too, did the Indiana Fever after Reeve flung her jacket down the sidelines in a third-quarter rage that fueled the Lynx to an 83-71 Game 2 victory, sending the WNBA Finals back to Indianapolis tied at a game apiece.

That jacket never got wrapped around Reeve's shoulders again, not once the Lynx turned their anger into a lead that grew to as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.

The Lynx trailed by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but chipped the deficit to two points by halftime and tied the game late in the third quarter when Lindsay Whalen had the ball ripped away from her on a dribble drive with no foul whistled.

Whalen screamed for the call and Reeve soon followed, ripping off her jacket and flinging it before she was done protesting before a home crowd announced at a sellout of 13,478.

Both Whalen and Reeve were called for technical fouls - Reeve's assistant coaches blocked her path to the officials and shielded their view, perhaps preventing an ejection from the game - and Tamika Catchings made both free throws to give the Fever a 50-48 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter.

But from there, the Lynx went on an 18-7 run that ended the third quarter, began the fourth and provided a 66-57 lead with 7:21 left from which the Fever never recovered.

Maya Moore punctuated that run with a driving layup and three-point play that gave the Lynx the lead to stay, at 57-55 late in the third quarter.

Seimone Augustus followed later with an important three-point shot and then Whalen provided consecutive baskets that ended that run on a night when Indiana once again played without injured star guard Katie Douglas.

Augustus led the Lynx with 27 points and Moore added 23 while Catchings scored 27 for Indiana, which won Game 1 of this best-of-five series 76-70 on Sunday.

Douglas remained in Indianapolis on Wednesday, still hobbled by a sprained ankle in an Eastern Conference title-clinching victory over Connecticut that also kept her out of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals Sunday.

Guard Shavonte Zellous once again started in place of Douglas after delivering a seven point, four assist, five foul performance on 2-for-9 shooting in Game 1.

She helped repel the Lynx's second quarter comeback attempt from a 10-point deficit.

Trailing 25-15, Minnesota went on an 8-0 run to get within 25-23, but Zellous answered with a baseline drive that produced a scoring layup, a foul and a three-point play that pushed the lead back to 28-23 with 3:31 left before halftime.

The Fever led 31-25 with 70 seconds left, but the Lynx scored six of the first half's final eight points to get within 33-31 at intermission.

NOTES - Indiana reserve guard Jeanette Pohlen injured her left knee after playing fewer than two minutes in the first half and did not return to the game. ... Lynx star Seimone Augustus says she's focused on leading her team to its second consecutive WNBA title, but she also has come out strong publicly in her opposition to a Minnesota constitutional ballot amendment in November's election that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. Augustus is gay and plans to marry her fiancée in May. "I would hope so, this is a serious issue," she said when asked if her support of gay marriage will change some voters' minds. "It's time for people to be a little more open-minded about equal rights as far as marriage goes." ... Fever forward Tamika Catchings showed why she was named the league's defensive player of the year in Game 1 by blocking four shots and getting three steals. ... Augustus was named WNBA Finals MVP last season for averaging nearly 25 points a game in a sweep of Atlanta. She entered Game 2 Wednesday averaging a team-high 20 points in the playoffs. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said Augustus doesn't need to win the award again for her team to repeat, but she does need to play like one. "If Seimone is not even in the (MVP) discussion, we've got a big problem."
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