The Mercury's 2011 WNBA season came down to this one game and facing elimination Phoenix just couldn't get it done against a superior team. It was pretty clear from the outset that the Minnesota was better in transition defense, better in the post, and had enough perimeter talent to match the Mercury shot for shot.
"We got beat by a good team," Mercury coach Corey Gaines said, "They were the No. 1 team all year. All five starters in double figures and Lindsay (Whalen) really took over the game when they needed shots. She hit some big ones down the stretch and in the first half to keep them close. She's a good point guard, maybe one of the best in the league."
The game was close first through first half but in the third quarter the Lynx pulled away behind the inside play of veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin who took advantage of the small Mercury front court. Phoenix tried to go with their big lineup and zone defense late in the game but the Lynx hit their outside shots and put the game out of reach.
Phoenix was within three point early in the fourth quarter but the Lynx hit some tough shots and pulled away.
The Lynx got 21 points from Maya Moore and McWilliams-Franklin and six players score in double figures. The Mercury got 22 points each from DeWanna Bonner and Diana Taurasi. The Lynx shot over 54 percent from the field for the game while their defense held Phoenix to 43 percent.
"With our team you have to pick your poison. I think there was a lot of effort made on Simone and I thought Simone was very tested, very challenged. I think as a result of that we were able to get other people involved whether it was Taj or Maya," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeves said.
With the win the Lynx advance to their first-ever appearance in the WNBA Finals. They will face the winner of the Atlanta Dream vs. Indiana Fever.