Mercury Beat Lynx, Now Atop Western Conference

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: June 18, 2014

In a dominant performance wire to wire, the Mercury picked up a win over the visiting Minnesota Lynx Wednesday night, 92-79. Phoenix is now 8-3 on the season and tied for the best record the WNBA. It is also the first time in franchise history that the Mercury has at a share of the WNBA's best record after 11 games.

The Mercury has now defeated the Lynx in consecutive meetings for the first time since July 29, 2010 - July 13, 2011. The win moved Phoenix (8-3) ahead of the Lynx (9-4) and into first place in the Western Conference.

Phoenix entered the night as the WNBA's highest-scoring (84.1) and best-shooting (49.4) percent team. They added to those numbers tonight after putting up 92 points while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. First-year head coach Sandy Brondello has matched Russ Pennell (2013) and Cheryl Miller (1997) for the best start to a head coaching tenure in franchise history.

Brittney Griner set a new career high with 27 points and tied her career high in rebounds with 18. Diana Taurasi also had a double-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner added 19 and 15 points respectively. As a team, Phoenix outrebounded the Lynx 41-22.

"She let me know I need to rebound," Brittney Griner said regarding Brondello's encouragement. "There's no reason I shouldn't have at least 10 a night. I wanted to make that effort to go get it. Rebounds are just effort. Before the game I was like, 'Rebound, rebound, rebound.'";

The Mercury has now won four of its last five games and has improved to 4-0 against Seattle (2-0) and Minnesota (2-0) this season after going a combined 0-9 against those two clubs in 2013.

"You know, I just never took it that personal," Diana Taurasi said of the Lynx rivalry. "I kind of always just focus on us. If we do the right things and we come in focused and ready to go, we can't worry about other teams. We can't affect what they do. I've never really been big on what other teams do."

Phoenix improved to 2-0 with the starting lineup of Taurasi, Taylor, Bonner, Dupree and Griner.

"It's more about having composure when you need to and executing what we want to run," Sandy Brondello added. "Really, in the end, it's about making plays too. They made runs. They played well tonight. Obviously, two players had about 60 points; they played well. We just played a little bit better."

Phoenix next hosts the Tulsa Shock on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m.

X-FACTOR

The starting five was hugely impressive. DeWanna Bonner, Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Penny Taylor combined for 85 of the Mercury's 92 points.

Those five players shot 33-of-58 from the floor (57 percent) while grabbing 37 rebounds.

POSTGAME REPORT

PLAYER OF THE GAME

When you set a new career high in scoring (27) and tie your career high in rebounds (18) in the same game, it's pretty much a given that you'll be the player of the game.

Brittney Griner was unstoppable tonight after shooting 11-of-15 from the floor in addition to her two blocked shots.

STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT

2 - the number of Lynx players in double figures. Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen combined for 58 of Minnesota's 79 points, while the next closest Lynx player finished with just six points (Dantas).

TWEET OF THE NIGHT