Phoenix Mercury fall behind in 4th quarter run, lose to Lynx

Jul 1, 2023, 10:50 PM

Diana Taurasi...

Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury takes a free throw during the third quarter against the Seattle Storm at Climate Pledge Arena on June 24, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Diamond Miller battled foul trouble but finished with 25 points and five steals — both career highs — and Napheesa Collier added 16 points and nine rebounds to help Minnesota beat the Phoenix Mercury 86-76 Saturday night for the Lynx’s third win in a row.

Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 23 points, 15 in the first half, and Moriah Jefferson scored 14 with a season-high seven assists.

Michaela Onyenwere, who fouled out early in the fourth quarter, and Sug Sutton added 10 points apiece and Brianna Turner grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds.

Six different Lynx players scored in a 13-2 run that gave the Lynx a 76-63 lead with five minutes to play and Phoenix trailed by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Minnesota (7-9) — which started the season with six consecutive losses — was coming off back-to-back wins over the Seattle Storm, the latter of which came when Collier made a short fadeaway jumper that gave the Lynx a 99-97 lead with 1.8 seconds left in overtime.

Miller, the No. 2 overall selection in April’s draft out of Maryland, picked up her third personal when she fouled Moriah Jefferson, who hit the short jumper and made the and-1 free throw that trimmed the Mercury’s deficit to 34-31 with 3:43 left in the first half.

Tiffany Mitchell (wrist), Jessica Shepard (non-COVID illness) and Aerial Powers (ankle) did not play for the Lynx. Shepard leads the team in field-goal percentage (53.2%), rebounds (9.2 per game) and assists (4.4). Powers and Shepard each missed their seventh consecutive game, Mitchell sat out her third in a row.

Phoenix, which went into the game averaging a league-high 17.5 turnovers per game (no other team averages more than 16.0) committed 14 — which led to 15 Lynx points — in the first half and went into the break trailing 46-37. The Mercury finished with a season-high 22 turnovers, including 13 Minnesota steals.

Phoenix (3-12) has lost 12 of its first 15 games for the second time in franchise history, the first since 2003.

The Merucry lost six games in a row, and nine out of 10, before an 85-63 win over the Indiana Fever on Thursday in Nikki Blue’s second game as the interim head coach.

Blue replaced to Vanessa Nygaard, who was fired Sunday, one day after a 97-74 road loss to the Seattle Storm, which dropped Phoenix to 2-12, matching the worst 12-game start to a season in franchise history. The Mercury lost 77-62 at home to the Dallas Wings on Tuesday in Blue’s debut.

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