MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Lynx looked every bit the favorite to win the WNBA title in their commanding victory over the Atlanta Dream in the opener.
They have home-court advantage in the championship round for a third straight year, a proud, confident and determined bunch pursuing their second title in that span. The Lynx used balance, depth and strength at both ends of the floor to overwhelm the Dream 84-59 in Game 1 on Sunday night, the second-largest margin in WNBA finals history.
That doesn’t mean this best-of-five series is sewn up, though.
Though lopsided scores like this can serve as evidence of a clear gap between two teams, sometimes a blowout makes it easier for the loser to regroup and respond with a far better performance.
“We’re seasoned. We have faced adversity, so we know how to handle things. We know that these 40 minutes that we played have no bearing on Game 2,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “It will be amazing how different Game 2 is versus Game 1.”
Dream standout Angel McCoughtry was defiant, too, that her team will bounce back in Game 2 tonight.
“We’re not going to be down. What’s the point? It’s over. We’re movin’ on,” the WNBA’s leading scorer this season said after shooting 6-for-24 and finishing with five turnovers and 17 points. “We’re going to keep our heads up, and we’re going to continue to believe. We have confidence in ourselves. We believe we can win a series.”
They have to start smaller than that, with one game.
This is the Dream’s third appearance in the finals in four years, but they’re 0-7 so far. They started the season 10-1 but struggled through injuries all summer, and forward Sancho Lyttle is still out with a broken left foot. At 17-17, they brought the worst winning percentage in league history to the championship round. They found a rhythm at just the right time, following up a playoff-opening loss to Washington by winning four games in a row to get here.