Lynx rout Washington in WNBA semifinal opener

  • Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles looks towards the basket, while guarded by Washington's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles looks towards the basket, while guarded by Washington's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Maya Moore exudes intensity during the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Maya Moore exudes intensity during the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Seimone Augustus drives to the basket on Washington's Krystal Thomas in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Augustus finished the game with 24 points. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Seimone Augustus drives to the basket on Washington's Krystal Thomas in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Augustus finished the game with 24 points. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles guard's Washington's Tierra Ruffin-Pratt in the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles guard's Washington's Tierra Ruffin-Pratt in the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles shoots over Washington's Tianna Hawkins and Emma Meesseman  in the second quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles shoots over Washington's Tianna Hawkins and Emma Meesseman in the second quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Maya Moore shoots a jumper in the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Maya Moore shoots a jumper in the first quarter of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Seimone Augustus, left, and Maya Moore contest a shot by Washington's Tierra Ruffin-Pratt in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Seimone Augustus, left, and Maya Moore contest a shot by Washington's Tierra Ruffin-Pratt in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's head coach Cheryl Reeve was smiling in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, as Minnesota opened up a 20 point lead,  on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's head coach Cheryl Reeve was smiling in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, as Minnesota opened up a 20 point lead, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's fans wave playoff towels in the second half of Game 1 of an WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's fans wave playoff towels in the second half of Game 1 of an WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen sinks a jumper over the outstretched arms of Washington's Emma Meesseman in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Lindsay Whalen sinks a jumper over the outstretched arms of Washington's Emma Meesseman in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Renee Montgomery drives to the basket in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Renee Montgomery drives to the basket in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Seimone Augustus drives on Washington's Kristi Toliver in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Seimone Augustus drives on Washington's Kristi Toliver in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Maya Moore tries to deflect a pass by Washington's Emma Meesseman  in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Maya Moore tries to deflect a pass by Washington's Emma Meesseman in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Surrounded by Washington's players, Minnesota's Seimone sinks a running jumper in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Augustus finished with 24 points.  (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Surrounded by Washington's players, Minnesota's Seimone sinks a running jumper in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Augustus finished with 24 points. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

  • Minnesota's Plenette Pierson tries to go around Washington's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017.  Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

    Minnesota's Plenette Pierson tries to go around Washington's Tianna Hawkins in the second half of Game 1 of a WNBA semifinal matchup between the Minnesota Lynx and the Washington Mystics at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Minnesota won 101-81. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

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With the clock winding down in the third quarter, Renee Montgomery had the ball outside the arc nearly straight out from the basket.

She made a head fake to get her much taller defender in the air. Leaning to the side, she got off a shot.

As the clock hit zero, the basketball hit nothing but net on its way down.

It was that kind of night for the Minnesota Lynx.

Minnesota established a pair of playoff franchise records by making 12 three-point shots and shooting 70.6 percent from outside the arc in beating the Washington Mystics 101-81 Tuesday in Game 1 of the best-of-five WNBA semifinals.

“I just wanted to get a shot up,” Montgomery said. “Coach hates it when we don’t, so I had to get something.”

Seimone Augustus scored a season-high 24 points, Sylvia Fowles had 18 points and seven rebounds, Montgomery had a playoff career-high 18 points and Maya Moore 14 for top-seeded Minnesota.

With Fowles having an MVP year and Moore’s scoring jumping the past couple of weeks, it’s been easy to overlook Augustus on the stat sheet.

“The player of the game, by far, was Seimone Augustus,” said coach Cheryl Reeve.

With her playing time reduced a bit during the regular season to keep her fresh for the postseason, the 12th-year guard averaged 10.9 points per game but notched a career-best 127 assists.

“I always say, ‘When Seimone plays well, we don’t lose,’ ” Reeve said. “She knows this is her time in the playoffs.”

Augustus got a recent phone call from her grandmother with some advice.

“For the most part, she said just shoot the ball and be aggressive, which is what I’ve been hearing all week at practice from coach. She called and said shoot the ball tonight, and I was like, ‘OK granny.’”

She scored 11 of the first 14 Lynx points in the second half while Minnesota pushed its lead to 23.

The last of those was a three-pointer after a pass intended for Fowles in the post deflected out to Augustus, who had plenty of time to square up and shoot. Her shot hit nothing but net.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Montgomery, and another by Jia Perkins, gave the Lynx a 76-49 lead late in the third quarter.

“If they shoot like that the rest of the series, it’ll be a quick series,” said Washington coach Mike Thibault.

Elena Delle Donne had 17 points for sixth-seeded Washington, which won two elimination games to reach the semifinals. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 16 and Meesseman 15. Kristi Toliver, who scored 32 points and made a league playoff-record nine three-pointers for the Mystics on Sunday, finished with three points.

Guard Lindsay Whalen returned to the Minnesota lineup after missing 12 games with a left hand injury.

Reeve said pregame she wanted to be cautious with the former Gopher. Whalen finished with two points and two assists in 17 minutes.

Montgomery, who started when Whalen was out, continued to smoothly run the Lynx offense.

Minnesota turned the ball over just eight times and shot 59.4 percent.

Fowles had 16 points, Augustus 13 and Moore 10 as Minnesota built a 53-38 halftime lead.

Minnesota’s dominance at both ends was showcased in the final seconds as Moore came seemingly out of nowhere to block a layup attempt by Della Donne. With the raucous 7,834 fans at Williams Arena still roaring, Montgomery fed Fowles for a layup at the other end to complete the fast break.

Minnesota is playing its postseason games at the University of Minnesota because Xcel Energy Center, where it played regular season games, is unavailable. Renovations continue at Target Center, the team’s regular home in Minneapolis.

DEFENSIVE HONORS
Fowles was named to the WNBA All-Defensive first team for the sixth time in her 10-year career; Rebekkah Brunson and Moore were named to the second team.

Fowles, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who has also been named to the second team twice, averaged 10.4 rebounds per game (second in the WNBA), 6.8 defensive rebounds (fifth), 1.97 blocks per game (second) and 1.29 steals (12th).

In her 14th year, Brunson has one career first-team honor and been named to the second team five times. Moore’s honor is the second time in her seven-year career being named to the second team.


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