Minnesota took a hit Sunday with the 75-69 loss of Game 1 of the 2015 WNBA Finals. With all the momentum and advantage behind the Lynx, Indiana gritted out the win on the road.
Indiana came out swinging and on a mission to surpass their title of underdog.
The physicality of this first game will set the tone for the remainder of the series with high expectations of both teams meddling with foul trouble. Both teams played with intensity and in attack mode; but the Fever had something to prove.
Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve was honest and straight to the point in her post-game feelings.
"I think our execution was miserable," said a clearly frustrated Reeve.
The Lynx also often were caught on their heels on defense being miss-matched with Indiana. The speed and efficiency of the Fever's offense stunned Minnesota, which continued to stifle any type of momentum by the Lynx.
With the Fever's offense running with such pristine precision, Minnesota gave up 5 three-pointers with failure to close out with an undetermined style of defense.
But ultimately, Indiana came ready with weapons on both ends, and one particular weapon stood out in myriad ways: Briann January flamed on offense with 19 points and 6 assists. The leader and coach of the Fever shared insight between her and the star of the game.
"I challenged Bri to lead this team, lead us on the defensive end and to lead us on the offensive end," said Indiana head coach Stephanie White. "The confidence she played with tonight, we need her to play with that for the rest of the series."
Defensively she was a presence all night, she was almost like a gnat that the Lynx couldn't swat away.
This was the Minnesota's first loss in at home in 10 games during the postseason, and with no coincidence the last loss was handed by the Fever back in 2012. Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles who finished with 21 points reflected on the positive: "We can't rewind this game back. We can just go back and look at the things we didn't do so well and push forward for the next game on Tuesday."
Minnesota will get a chance to redeem themselves in game 2 on Tuesday, but they'll need to re-evaluate their defense to stop this highly motivated Indiana squad. The Lynx also will need to take advantage of free-throws and minimize missed opportunities.