Atlanta guard Armintie Price and the Dream haven’t really come close to beating the Minnesota Lynx so far in the WNBA Finals — a fact they hope changes tonight when the series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3.
ATLANTA -- For the Dream, the task is clear: Start making free throws and keep Minnesota off the line to avoid being swept in the WNBA Finals for a second straight year.
They'll get the chance to do it at home today when the series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3.
The Lynx went to the free-throw line so many times in Game 2 that Atlanta's players and coach cried foul. But the Dream couldn't blame the officials for their poor free-throw shooting.
Minnesota's 101-95 comeback victory against Atlanta on Wednesday night gave the Lynx a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series. Seattle swept Atlanta in last year's finals.
Angel McCoughtry set a finals record with 38 points and out-dueled Minnesota's Seimone Augustus, who scored 36 -- but Wednesday's loss left Atlanta on the brink of elimination.
"We just felt like we should have won that game," McCoughtry said Thursday. "We're pretty upset but we'll be OK" today.
The Dream made only 21 for 32 free throws, a key as they faltered in the fourth quarter after leading most of the game.
Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors on Thursday renewed her complaints about the discrepancy in fouls. Her team drew 33 fouls, 10 more than the Lynx.
"I think the thing that really turned the game around, they had 24 free throws to our seven in the fourth quarter," Meadors said.
Forward Sancho Lyttle fouled out. McCoughtry and center Erika de Souza each finished with four fouls.
"I just want to say that the game should be determined by Atlanta and Minnesota," McCoughtry said. "Let us battle it out. If we come out bloody, we come out bloody. Let us battle it out. We don't want to see it determined by other things."
Asked if she was referring to the officials, McCoughtry said "That didn't come out of my mouth."
Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said she expected a tight game from officials Sue Blauch, Lamont Simpson and Kurt Walker.
"I had an idea that it would be called a little more closely," Reeve said. "They called everything. They established it and the players didn't adjust."
Meadors said she believes the officials called a tighter game in the fourth period.
"I just think we are who we are and we've got to come out and play the way we play," Meadors said. "If they call it tight again we've got to adjust much quicker, but the tightness didn't come until the fourth quarter.
"It changed in the fourth quarter. They called three quarters one way. You start out in the fourth quarter calling it really tight. The thing both coaches want is consistency on both ends and fair play and let them play. Let the players decide the game."
Fouls were a bigger factor for Minnesota in the first half. Star rookie Maya Moore had her playing time severely limited by fouls. Moore, who will return to her Atlanta home for Game 3, had only 8 points in less than 16 minutes.
Thanks to the combined 78 free throws, the game lasted 2 hours and 26 minutes.
That's too long, according to Meadors.
"We're all programmed for 2 hours," she said.
The Atlanta coach acknowledged her team didn't play well when the Dream had a double-digit lead.
"There are a lot of things we can do much better," Meadors said. "We had a 10-point lead and we came down and took a couple of quick shots and missed them and it put them right back in the game. We can't afford to do that. We have to play better basketball mentally."
Atlanta led at halftime in its Game 1 loss. The Lynx have outscored the Dream a combined 58-33 in the two fourth quarters.
"When we have a lead we just have to maintain and play with poise," Lyttle said. "I think we are good. We've just got to play the game and hopefully we come out with a win. We've just got to stick together."
Game 3 could develop into another scoring shootout between McCoughtry and Augustus.
"I didn't think I had to match Angel point-for-point; it just happened that way," Augustus said. "Angel, oh my God, every defender we threw at her did a great job of trying to get a hand in her face and even with that she made tough shots. That's all that you can ask for is to get a hand up and contest each shot.
"Everybody did an amazing job, she just had better offense. Kudos to her. She had a wonderful game but at the end we got the victory."
And with one more, they'll also have the title.
Want To Watch?
WHO: Minnesota Lynx at Atlanta Dream.
WHAT: WNBA Finals, Game 3.nWHEN: 8 p.m. today.