Lynx Dig Deep To Beat Mercury, Improve To 8-0

Todd Barin

Web Editorial Associate

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The Minnesota Lynx had to persevere and come from behind in order to defeat the Phoenix Mercury in a very competitive game on Tuesday night, 89-81.

Minnesota struggled shooting all night only making 37 percent of their shots, but fortunately for the WNBA defending Champions, they saved their best basketball of the night for the fourth quarter.

“If you told me we shot 37 percent playing Phoenix, I would have told you we lost by 20,” Lynx’ head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “That’s what I told the team that I was particularly proud of, just finding a way, because it wasn’t like we were getting bad shots. I just thought that for whatever reason, Phoenix’s defense for sure, they went to another level today and put us under duress. They were a big reason why our percentage was low. Just staying persistent and finding a way. Sometimes when it’s not working, the ball’s not going in the hole, you can lose your focus. We just said, third quarter, finally, got some things done defensively that we were hoping to do and be able to play off of misses was really key in that stretch.”

Sylvia Fowles had a brilliant game with 21 points on 6-for-11 shooting, eight rebounds and two blocks. Fowles was able to take advantage of Brittney Griner being out of the game due to foul trouble at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter.

Maya Moore didn’t shoot the ball great, going 6-for-20 from the floor, but played well overall, finishing the night with 21 points, six boards, four dimes and three steals. Rebekkah Brunson, who seemed to play a little timid in the first half, came alive in the second half and gave a huge boost to the team, ending the game with 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

“I gave Brunson the game ball,” Reeve said. “She got really determined in the first half, a little more hesitant about not shooting because Griner’s in the area and finally she threw caution to the wind and I thought she was going to dunk on her that one time.”

The Lynx also got a huge lift from their bench thanks to the play of Jia Perkins and Renee Montgomery. The two guards combined for 29 points and five assists.

“First of all, we always believe we can win and I think that ahs a lot to do with winning – when you never think you’re down and out,” Montgomery said. “I think it’s a trust factor. I just think we trust each other a lot.

Phoenix had success putting the ball in the hoop in an efficient manner on Tuesday evening as they shot 49.2 percent from the floor.

Diana Taurasi, Griner and Sonja Petrovic combined for 38 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks on the night.

“I thought tonight we played harder and played as a team,” Mercury forward Candice Dupree said. “But they were pressuring the crap out of us late in the third and fourth quarter and we weren’t able to handle that pressure.”

Numbers Game:

12: Despite shooting a less than stellar 37 percent, Minnesota was sensational from the charity stripe, making this many more free throws than Phoenix and going 27-for-29 from the line.

50: Even though the Lynx had difficulty putting in jumpers, they did their best to make sure every 3-pointer they shot counted, literally. Minnesota was able to put in this percent of their shots from beyond-the-arc on Tuesday night, finishing 8-for-16.

2: Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus shockingly only combined for this many points against the Mercury. Unfortunately for Augustus and the Lynx, she was forced to leave the game early in the third quarter after suffering an elbow to the head.

Up Next:

Minnesota will travel to Atlanta on Friday night as they take on the 6-2 Dream. Tip-off will be at 6:30 p.m., so be sure to tune in on Fox Sports North Plus, or on the radio at 106.1 BOB FM.