Taylor Leads Mercury Past Lynx

Phoenix 106, Minnesota 93

PHOENIX, July 22 (AP) -- Penny Taylor had 28 points and nine rebounds, and Tangela Smith scored a season-high 24 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 106-93 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday.

Diana Taurasi added 13 points for the Mercury (13-10), who won for the sixth time in nine games and moved into a tie with Sacramento for second place in the Western Conference. Smith had 17 points in the first half and finished a career-best 4-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Seimone Augustus had 23 points to lead Minnesota (5-19), which has lost nine straight. Nicole Ohlde added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Svetlana Abrosimova had 14 points and eight boards.

The Mercury topped 100 points for the fourth time this season, extending their WNBA record.

"They lead the league in scoring per game so we knew they were going to put some points on the board,'' Ohlde said.

Taylor's three-point play gave the Mercury a 77-55 lead, their biggest advantage of the game, with 1:50 left in the third quarter.

The Lynx scored eight straight points to pull within seven on Tiffany Stansbury's hook shoot with 4:12 left in the game but that was as close as they got.

Taurasi hit a 3 to push Phoenix's lead to 10 just 13 seconds later, and Belinda Snell's 3 made it 102-88 with 1:01 remaining.

"We had to play 40 minutes of basketball and that's what we need to do to win games,'' Smith said. "We can't let up in the fourth quarter or we can't start slow in the first quarter.''

Minnesota finished with a 48-44 rebounding advantage, but committed 19 turnovers.

Augustus, who had 14 points in the first half, made her first four shots to help Minnesota jump to an 18-11 just 5 minutes into the game. The Lynx started 8-for-11 from the floor, but were 7-for-22 the rest of the opening half.

"The second quarter, we didn't match their intensity and they just got on a run, got some easy layups,'' Abrosimova said. "They shot the ball extremely well so it's really tough to play against Phoenix when they are making outside shots because you have to extend your defense and they go for the lay-ups off of that.''

The Mercury closed the half with a 10-0 run and led 53-38 at the break.