It's going to be do or die for the Indiana Fever as they try to extend the WNBA Finals to five games against the Minnesota Lynx. It all comes down to turnovers and rebounds for both teams.
Over the past three games, the Lynx have been able to cut down on turnovers while Indiana has done the complete opposite. Over the three-game span, Minnesota has had a combined total of 35 turnovers whereas Indiana has racked up 40. The Lynx have also found their way to attack the boards with and without Sylvia Fowles in the paint.
However, the biggest factor is foul trouble. Tamika Catchings needs to find a way to stay out of foul trouble, because the Fever desperately needs her on the hardwood. During the second quarter of Game 3, both stars for Indiana and Minnesota were on the bench because of foul trouble. Minnesota found a way to spread the ball and give everyone a taste of the bottom of the net. Indiana, however, had to rely heavily on Shenise Johnson.
Johnson only showed up for a small portion of the game, giving the Fever some hope. But you can't rely on just one player; depth is everything. Minnesota found a way to really shut down Briann January early on, forcing the Indiana bench to step up. Their bench only contributed 13 points compared to Minnesota's bench, which put up 28 points at critical moments in the game.
If Indiana wants to extend this series to game five, they need to not only find a way to make their bench contribute, but they need to shut down the Lynx's bench. Devereaux Peters and Renee Montgomery stepped up big time by causing turnovers and shutting down the perimeter.
Montgomery dropped a huge three-pointer late in the fourth that tied the game at 77, and Maya Moore was put in the position to score the buzzer beater game-winning three-pointer.
History is in favor of the Lynx. Game 3 winners have gone on to win the entire series seven of the last 10 times since the five game system was adopted in 2005. The Lynx have gone 3-2 in elimination games since 2012.
The Fever are the only team to have a better record with 8-2 in elimination games since 2012. Indiana has gone 4-0 in elimination games this postseason against Chicago and New York after trailing a 1-0 series lead.
Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. ET tonight in Indiana.