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Minnesota Lynx forward Natasha Howard looks to shoot during a WNBA basketball game against the Phoenix Mercury, Sunday, July 16, 2017 in Minneapolis. (Courtney Pedroza/Star Tribune via AP)
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Short-handed Mercury fall to Lynx

Minnesota Lynx forward Natasha Howard looks to shoot during a WNBA basketball game against the Phoenix Mercury, Sunday, July 16, 2017 in Minneapolis. (Courtney Pedroza/Star Tribune via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Sylvia Fowles scored 18 points and the Minnesota Lynx used an 18-0 run in the third quarter to beat the Phoenix Mercury 81-66 on Sunday night.

Minnesota (15-2), off to the best start in franchise history, beat the Mercury 88-71 in Phoenix on Friday night.

Jia Perkins scored a season-high 13 points, Rebekkah Brunson added 11 and Plenette Pierson and Renee Montgomery had 10 points apiece for the Lynx.

Fowles converted a 3-point play and then made a layup to give Minnesota the lead for good and spark the decisive run that made it 67-51 when Renee Montgomery hit two free throws with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. The Lynx led by double figures the rest of the way.

Phoenix (11-8) shot 58.3 percent from the field and hit 10 of 12 free-throw attempts in the first half but made just 10 of 36 (27.8 percent) shots from the field after the break.

Rookie Yvonne Turner scored a career high 18 points for the Mercury. Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, who combine to average more than 40 points per game, did not play for Phoenix. Griner was injured in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Taurasi didn’t travel with the team in order to rest.

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