MINNEAPOLIS — Former LSU star Seimone Augustus scored 20 points and Lindsay Whalen had 14 points and five assists to push the Minnesota Lynx to the brink of their second title in three seasons with an 88-63 victory over the Atlanta Dream in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals on Tuesday night.
Rebekkah Brunson had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Maya Moore chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds for the Lynx, who lead the best-of-five series 2-0.
Angel McCoughtry scored 15 points for the Dream, but she made just 5 of 18 shots and was in foul trouble for most of the night.
Game 3 is on Thursday night in Georgia.
The series is taking on a similar tone to the first time these two met in the finals two years ago, when the Lynx swept the Dream for the franchise’s first title.
Minnesota was upset by Indiana in the finals last year, and entered this series determined to show last year’s disappointment was a fluke.
Moore had an emphatic swat of McCoughtry on a drive midway through the first quarter, and Moore glared at Atlanta’s combustible star, who is 11 for 42 from the field in the first two games.
Game 3 won’t be played at the Dream’s usual home — Phillips Arena in Atlanta — because of a scheduling conflict with Disney On Ice. Instead, the teams will meet at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, about 20 minutes away. Moore will feel as at home as the Dream at Gwinnett, where she led her high school to three Georgia state titles.
The Lynx controlled Game 1 from the opening tip, leading by as many as 31 points en route to an 84-59 victory and came into Game 2 overflowing with confidence.
A message on the video board just before the opening tip read: “Game 1 we made a statement. Game 2 we will make history. We’re leaving Minnesota after tonight, but we’ll be bringing something back with us.”
A photo of the WNBA championship trophy followed, eliciting a roar from the amped-up home crowd, and the Lynx followed with a ferocious start to seize control.
Dream coach Fred Williams had to shuffle his starting lineup after sparkplug Tiffany Hayes injured her back and tailbone on a nasty spill in Game 1.
The Dream went big with 6-foot-4 Aneika Henry next to the 6-foot-5 Erika De Souza. Henry was one of the few Dream players who had any success in the series opening blowout, but she was quiet on Tuesday night.
Hayes came off the bench, but she wasn’t the dynamic player she has been for Atlanta this season. And even with the big lineup the Dream were still outscored 42-26 in the paint and outrebounded 40-22.
Whalen was the initiator early, bulling to the basket and using her elbows to create space among the tall trees in the paint to get the Lynx out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter.
McCoughtry missed her first six shots and fouled out with just under four minutes to play.
The Dream got to within 10 midway through the third quarter, but Minnesota responded promptly with an 8-0 burst to regain a comfortable lead.