MINNEAPOLIS -- The stat sheet did not lie. Everything the Minnesota Lynx needed to know about their shortcomings -- and let's face it, knew from the moment they left the floor after a 75-69 win by the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday -- was right there, flaws exposed in black and white.
It was a laundry list of things you cannot get away with against an experienced, road-tested Fever team. It was also a to-do list for Game 2.
"We didn't play well enough to win, to be honest," Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. "You have to play way better to win a championship. And we just didn't do that tonight.
"I think our execution was miserable. I think there wasn't a thing that Indiana did that we didn't talk about or weren't aware of. I think it was just one of those games. We shot 42 percent. They shot 36 percent. We shot 23 free throws. They shot 16. How do you lose that game?"
Again, the answers are not hard to find.
Free throws. The Lynx went to the line 23 times. They missed eight of those attempts. In a game lost by six points, it made a decisive difference.
"That's the kind of game it was going to be, and we didn't get our footing soon enough," Lynx guard Seimone Augustus said.
Second-chance points. The final tally was 22 for Indiana, 12 for Minnesota. Even though Indiana finished with only a 12-11 advantage on the offense boards, the Fever were able to make far better use of their opportunities on the offensive glass.
"They made five threes, and I'm guessing that at least three were off offensive boards," Reeve said. "We would force an air-ball, and we can't get possession."
Lynx guard Maya Moore said it was a matter of not finishing defensive possessions.
"We would play some great half-court defense and then let them get a second shot. They scored 22 points doing that," Moore said. "That is something we can definitely do better. Little things like that, it's a whole different game. We have to play at a higher level."
Turnovers. Minnesota turned the ball over 15 times in the face of Indiana's active, disruptive defense. Sylvia Fowles and Moore, the two players with the ball in their hands most often, accounted for 11 of those. Indiana scored 16 points off turnovers.
"That's who they are," Moore said. "They cause chaos and that's their bread-and-butter. It's what they are known for. We have to be stronger with the ball, expect it and play through it."
Perimeter scoring. Lynx starting guards Augustus and Lindsay Whalen combined to shoot 4-of-14 from the floor for a total of 13 points. Augustus scored two of her three baskets in the fourth quarter. Whalen was 1-for-3, not finding opportunities in the offense to contribute more significantly.
Reeve pulled no punches about the fact her team needs more from her veteran captains. Most of the offensive load was carried by Moore (27 points, 12 rebounds) and Fowles (21 points, 11 rebounds).
"Both Lindsay and Seimone have to help us more offensively," Reeve said. "They didn't get the job done, either one of them. We need more from them. Seimone is a shot-maker. This is the WNBA Finals. When one of the best shot-makers in the history of the game gets opportunities, she has to make them. And she knows that.
"Lindsay hasn't found a way to help this team offensively in a long time. So she's got to get back to letting the game come to her. When she's open, shoot it. When she gets drives, drive with a vengeance."
Indeed, both players know exactly what Reeve and their team needs from them.
"That's expected," Augustus said. "Of course [coach] expects more. It takes pressure off Maya and off Sylvia when me and Wha[len] are able to get going sooner.
"I felt like I got good shots, they just didn't go in. Maya had it going and Syl had it going and you just have to find your place to get in there and get it going, too."
Whalen has been struggling through the postseason. In the two games of the Western Conference Finals against Phoenix, she scored a total of seven points. Sunday, she finished with four.
"All you can do is regroup," Whalen said. "Look at what you can do better for the next game and work hard and make adjustments and go from there."
This position is at the same time unfamiliar and all-too-familiar for the Lynx. Minnesota had reeled off 10 straight postseason wins at the Target Center and was 19-2 all-time at home in playoff games before Sunday.
Minnesota's last home playoff loss? In Game 1 of the 2012 WNBA Finals against the Fever, adding to the been-here, done-this feel this series already had coming in because so many of the same players are still on the floor for both teams.
"We just played 40 minutes of a 200-minute series. And by my count, that's a lot of minutes left." Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve
"We have a lot of things to clean up," Whalen said. "This is not what we've done all year. But we have things to focus on and make sure we get it back for the next game."
Losing Game 1 at home is an undeniable blow to the Lynx, but Reeve prefers to take a bigger-picture look at her team's situation. And the big picture says Game 2 becomes a virtual must-win for the Lynx.
"We have a really smart group," Reeve said. "We just played 40 minutes of a 200-minute series. And by my count, that's a lot of minutes left. All we are worried about is Tuesday night. We have got to play great. I suspect we will come out and do some of the things we didn't do tonight."