|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , September 14, 2017
Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota Attendance: 9,033
Mystics hope to land best punch vs. Lynx
The Minnesota Lynx threw a haymaker in Game 1 of the WNBA semifinals.
To have a fighting chance, the Washington Mystics will need to find some answers for Game 2 on Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
"They punched first," Mystics star Elena Delle Donne told the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune after the Lynx shot nearly 60 percent from the field. "Now we have to figure out a way to respond."
Minnesota was even better from long distance, making 70 percent of its 3-point attempts.
"We got bombarded," Washington coach Mike Thibault said. "Every time I turned around the ball was going through the net."
The Mystics tried double- and triple-teaming Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles in the first half.
It didn't work, as Fowles made 7 of 12 shots.
In the third quarter, the Lynx spread things around.
Seimone Augustus had 11 of her game-high 24 points in the third, and Renee Montgomery made three 3-pointers as the Lynx built a 28-point lead.
"Obviously, we made shots," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "When you make shots, everything is good."
Minnesota made 13 straight baskets during a stretch that started midway through the second quarter and was 12-for-18 from the field during the third.
"We need to find a way to break their rhythm," Thibault said. "If they shoot like that, it will be a quick series."
To avoid an early exit, the Mystics will need more from Kristi Toliver.
Toliver, who scored 32 points and set a WNBA record with nine 3-pointers in Washington's second-round win at New York, was held to three points on 1-for-7 shooting.
Thibault found something else missing with his team: fun.
"You need a balance of being aggressive and playing really hard," the coach told The Washington Post, "but there's also a sense that you're playing with house money, too. Hey, we're here because we worked hard to get here, go have fun playing. Enjoy it. There's no need to be tight, the pressure is on them, not us. No one expects us to win. Except us."
Thibault asked his team to embrace their underdog role.
"Last night I saw a rested Minnesota team and a team, us, that was kind of -- I'll say, reactive instead of proactive," Thibault said Wednesday after practice. "It's not a good way to play a team like that. When you're the underdog, you've got to be more of a disruptor, and we didn't disrupt too much. We need to be more aggressive in our approach to the game, try to dictate a little bit more on the defensive end what we want them to do."
Despite being overwhelmed in Game 1, the Mystics know they can tip the series scales in Game 2.
"If we can get one game here in Minnesota before we go home -- it ups our chances," Washington guard Natasha Cloud told the Post. "That's our focus, to just go in and play like we have nothing to lose. Because we don't, we're the underdog, and that's always a good position to be in."
The series will shift to Washington for Game 3 on Sunday.
Updated September 13, 2017