20080903/MINPHO
Mercury Hold Off Lynx

Phoenix 106, Minnesota 96

PHOENIX, Sept. 3 (AP) -- Diana Taurasi scored 19 of her 32 points in the second half to help the Phoenix Mercury beat the Minnesota Lynx 103-96 on Wednesday night.

Seimone Augustus had 27 points for Minnesota (14-15), which fell two games behind Sacramento for the fourth and final Western Conference playoff spot. Defending WNBA champion Phoenix (13-16) moved within three games of Sacramento.

Phoenix's Kelly Miller added 20 points, including four straight to give the Mercury a 51-30 lead early in the third quarter.

However, Anna DeForge hit four straight 3-pointers during a 3:36 stretch to help Minnesota cut it to 57-51 with 3:19 left in the period. DeForge finished with 23 points, 21 in the second half.

Taurasi scored 11 points in the third, including six during a 10-0 run that helped Phoenix take a 71-59 advantage into the final quarter. But Minnesota rallied behind Augustus to get to 97-94 with 28 seconds left in the game.

Miller then made two free throws and had a breakaway layup after Minnesota failed to convert on its possession.

Phoenix's Cappie Pondexter added 18 points, 14 in the second half.

The Lynx rallied after missing 19 of their first 22 shots to start the game. Minnesota finished the night 31-of-84 (37 percent) from the field.

Phoenix held Lynx second-leading scorer Candice Wiggins to 2-of-11 shooting and 11 points, five under her average, before she fouled out with 1:23 left.

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