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Fever takes Finals opener

– Erlana Larkins had 16 points and 15 rebounds and the Indiana Fever stunned defending champion Minnesota with a 76-70 victory over the Lynx in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday night.

Tamika Catchings added 20 points for the Fever, who played without leading scorer Katie Douglas because of a sprained left ankle.

Seimone Augustus scored 23 points and Rebekkah Brunson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Lynx, who are looking to become the WNBA’s first repeat champion in 10 years.

Game 2 in the best-of-five series is Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

Coming off the first title in franchise history, the Lynx posted the best record in the league this season on their way to homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. They entered the finals with talk of becoming the WNBA’s next dynasty, but the Fever don’t appear to be impressed.

They scored 15 points off of 17 Minnesota turnovers and outscored the Lynx 38-24 in the paint to become just the second visiting team this season to win at Target Center. Briann January added 11 points and six assists and Erin Phillips scored 13 for Indiana.

Maya Moore had 14 points and 10 rebounds but made just 4 of 14 shots and Lindsay Whalen managed 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Now they’ve lost homecourt and trail in a series for the first time since their title run started last year.

Attendance figures have been down league-wide this season, a troubling sign for a league that has been fighting to gain traction almost since its inception. The lower bowl was jammed at Target Center for Game 1, with a crowd announced at 14,322.

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