INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Indiana coach Lin Dunn criticized the coach of the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday, accusing her of a “lack of respect” for an outburst that seemed to spur the Lynx to a win in the WNBA Finals.
Dunn said she wasn’t amused by Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve’s meltdown on Wednesday night. Ignited by Reeve’s technical foul and subsequent jacket toss, Minnesota turned up the intensity in the second half to pull away for an 83-71 win in Game 2 to even the series at a game apiece. Game 3 is in Indianapolis on Friday.
Dunn said she thought Reeve should have been ejected because the wildest part of the tantrum came after the technical.
“I guess the thing that concerns me is that after she got her first technical, then she proceeded to take her jacket off, throw her jacket,” Dunn said. “In my opinion, that should have been reason for a second technical and removal, and they (the officials) did not do that, and of course, she was able to incite the crowd.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that her behavior after the first technical warranted ejection, and I was very disappointed that the officials allowed her to in some ways, you know, just kind of a lack of respect for the game and lack of respect for them. I was disappointed in the whole affair.”
After Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen tied Wednesday’s game at 48 with a reverse layup, Minnesota’s Maya Moore picked up her third foul on the other end. After Whalen’s layup was blocked by Briann January, Minnesota’s frustrations came out.
Whalen was issued a technical foul for complaining about the no-call by official Michael Price, then Price gave Reeve one, too. Reeve took her suit coat off and threw it so hard that she hurt her right shoulder and said she needed to see a trainer after the game.
Reeve wasn’t available to reporters in Indianapolis on Thursday. Minnesota’s Taj McWilliams-Franklin said her coach knew what she was doing.
“She wanted to light a fire under us,” she said. “She wanted to light a fire under the refs and everything else and the fans and energize us, which is what she did. She’s very calculating in everything she does. You all think she’s out of control but she’s not, by far.”
Indiana forward Tamika Catchings, who scored 27 points in Game 2, said Reeve’s tactics worked.
“I think she was just trying to get her team fired up, and she did a good job in that moment,” Catchings said. “It seemed like after that, they really picked it up as a team and all of them played a little more motivated, a lot more physical from that point on.”
Catchings said her team failed to realize the importance of what was happening and didn’t respond well.
“For us, we have to use that as a learning curve, too,” she said. “I should have pulled everybody over and said, `Now, they’re going to start going at us, they’re going to start attacking us.”’
Dunn also took exception to Reeve’s halftime speech, during which she directed her players to use their elbows in the second half.
“When you go to the basket, I want an elbow out,” Reeve said in a speech that was televised. “I want them to collapse their arms on you because you’re sticking an elbow in their chest.”
Dunn learned of the speech after the game and was shocked.
“I’ve never heard a coach say that publicly before - lead with your elbow, they’re not calling it.”
Both January and Shavonte Zellous had concussions during a game at Minnesota late in the regular season. Now, Dunn wonders if there was intent behind the hits.
“I guess the thing that sticks in my mind now is I look back to those two concussions we had in the game up there that we played in the regular season, and it makes me think, hey, maybe that was attributed to that because that’s how they teach their players to play, which I consider very dangerous and shouldn’t be part of our game,” she said.
Dunn said Minnesota’s elbows and Reeve’s outburst didn’t cost Indiana Wednesday’s game. The Fever were outrebounded 32-20, committed 24 turnovers and let Seimone Augustus score 23 of her 27 points in the second half.
“Just do your job, box out better, don’t give so many second-chance points, take care of the basketball and you win the ballgame,” Dunn said. “So that’s what we’re focusing on tomorrow night, is doing the little things like that better.”
Indiana guard Katie Douglas isn’t sure if she will play. The Fever’s No. 2 scorer sprained her left ankle in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals and missed both Game 1 and Game 2 of the Finals. Douglas said she’s dealing with pain and instability and doesn’t know how effective she will be if she plays. Indiana reserve guard Jeanette Pohlen left Wednesday’s game with an injured left knee. Dunn said she doesn’t expect Pohlen to play Friday.
Minnesota is at full strength and feeling good after playing its style of game and winning on Wednesday.
“I think for us, the vet team that we have, we can’t dwell on anything,” McWilliams-Franklin said. “It’s about sharpening what we do well, which is what we did. We are a fast breaking team, set up second, and I think we pushed it at them. We were up and aggressive and doing the things that Minnesota Lynx always do.”