Mercury bow out of playoffs in sweep by Lynx

Oct 2, 2016, 5:46 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Maya Moore scored 20 points and Natasha Howard added 17 to help the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury 82-67 on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of the semifinal series.

The top-seeded Lynx, who also eliminated the Mercury in the penultimate round a year ago, await the winner of Los Angeles-Chicago in their return trip to the WNBA finals.

Diana Taurasi had 12 points, after averaging 26.5 in her first four playoff games this year, as the eighth-seeded Mercury again had trouble with turnovers (15) and shot just 41 percent from the field. Taurasi was held to just one point in the second half, missing her three attempts from the field, all from 3-point range.

Howard had six points during a key third quarter run that saw the Lynx pull away as they did against Phoenix in the second quarter of Game 1 and the third quarter of Game 2. Minnesota started the second half on an 8-1 run and built a 55-43 advantage after six minutes and held on.

Lindsay Whalen added 11 points, all in the first half, for the Lynx, who have appeared in the WNBA Finals in five of the last six years, winning the title three times.

DeWanna Bonner added 12 points and six rebounds for the Mercury.

TIP-INS:

Minnesota is now 10-2 against the Mercury in the postseason. The Lynx swept the Mercury in the conference finals, which was a best-of-3 series last season, eliminating Phoenix in the same arena on a late free throw by Moore. Phoenix won the 2014 conference series against Minnesota 2-1 on its way to the third WNBA title. Coming off a WNBA playoff-record 63 free throws, the teams combined for 28 foul shots on Sunday.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME, PART 2: While the two teams played at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, as opposed to the Lynx’ usual home at the Target Center, the Mercury would have faced a similar situation for Game 4 of the semifinals. With a Sia concert scheduled for Tuesday, the teams would have played at Grand Canyon University, where former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle coaches basketball.

ELIMINATION TIME – Taurasi is now 13-4 in elimination games in her WNBA career. The Lynx have beaten Phoenix in the playoffs four times in the last six years. Minnesota has won nine straight against Phoenix, including 6-0 this season.

FAREWELL – Penny Taylor, who has won three WNBA titles with Phoenix and two silver medals for Australian, finished with four points but ended her career third in franchise history in points and games, and second in steals, assists and 3-pointers. She announced her retirement after 13 seasons during the Rio Olympics break.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Mercury

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a heari...
Associated Press

Brittney Griner begins trial in Russian court

Elizabeth Rood, U.S. charge d’affaires in Moscow, was in court and said she spoke with Brittney Griner as she went on trial.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)...
Associated Press

Phoenix Mercury beat Indiana Fever for 7th straight time

Skylar Diggins-Smith and Sophie Cunningham combined for 31 points in the Mercury's 99-78 win over the Fever on Wednesday.
2 days ago
Phoenix Mercury center Tina Charles (31) shoots from between Dallas Wings' Allisha Gray (15) and Ka...
Nikash Nath

Storm C Tina Charles: ‘I didn’t go into the season thinking I would switch teams’

Going into the 2022 season, the Phoenix Mercury had title aspirations with the signing of former New York Liberty center Tina Charles.
3 days ago
Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (4) comes away with a steal during the second half of th...
Arizona Sports

Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith a reserve for 2022 WNBA All-Star Game

Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith was named as a reserve for the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday.
4 days ago
Tina Charles #31 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball against Cheyenne Parker #32 of the Atlanta...
Nikash Nath

Former Phoenix Mercury C Tina Charles signs with Seattle Storm

Former Mercury center Tina Charles has signed on with the Storm for the remainder of the season following her contract divorce with Phoenix.
4 days ago
Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Diana Taurasi hits 7 3-pointers as Phoenix Mercury beat Indiana Fever

Diana Taurasi hit a season-high seven 3-pointers in the Phoenix Mercury's 83-71 win over the Indiana Fever on Monday night.
5 days ago
Mercury bow out of playoffs in sweep by Lynx