Lynx Scorch Mercury at Home

Lynx Postgame Audio
Jennifer Gillom

Candice Wiggins

Roneeka Hodges

Roneeka Hodges had the toughest assignment of the night. The forward, who was inserted into the starting lineup after Seimone Augustus was hurt in Phoenix last week, had the difficult task of guarding perennial WNBA All-Star Diana Taurasi while working to provide an offensive spark.

The forward from Florida State averaged only 4.8 points per game entering Saturday’s contest at the Target Center. Taurasi was second in the league in scoring with 22.6 points per game.

Hard to figure Saturday’s results.

Hodges scored a career-high 22 points while the Minnesota defense held Taurasi to just eight points on 2-for-15 shooting. The effort was plenty as Minnesota scored more than 100 points for the third time in franchise history and the second time this season in a 109-80 win over Phoenix.

“I just tried to come out and play with some confidence and be a little bit more aggressive,” Hodges said. “Fortunately I was knocking down my shots and that opened a little bit more for me.”

Hodges turned in her second straight season-best performance after scoring 10 points in Tuesday’s 12-point win over the Liberty. She hit on four of her 10 3-point attempts, helping space the floor for Nicky Anosike inside during a 16-4 run to start the second half that helped expand an 11-point lead.

Anosike added 15 points and eight rebounds while Candice Wiggins had 22 points to help propel the Lynx (6-3) to their second straight victory. Rookie Renee Montgomery also added a career-high 15 points for Minnesota.

Minnesota used a 21-4 run against New York on Tuesday to take control. It was a similar formula in Saturday’s clash with Phoenix (6-4).

“I think we can run with anyone with this team,” coach Jen Gillom said. “We have the youth and we have the talent to do that. This team is finally figuring that out. I told them the difference is, I told them we had to get stops on the defensive end and we did.”

The domination started on defense.

The Lynx held the Mercury below 40 percent shooting and stymied the high-scoring Phoenix attack. The Mercury shot 34.3 percent for the game and hit just four of their 17 3-point attempts. Minnesota recorded nine steals, scored 28 points off 19 turnovers and got 19 fast break points.

The Lynx also had all the answers on offense.

If Phoenix played a zone, Minnesota broke it down and got lay ups or 3-point shots in the corners. If the Mercury played straight up, the Lynx broke down defenders for easy buckets with drives to the hoop and interior passing.

When baskets did not fall, Minnesota crashed the boards getting 12 offensive rebounds and 15 second chance points. The Lynx also protected the ball, committing eight turnovers and only one before halftime.

Minnesota got off to a quick start, scoring the first 10 points of the game. Even when the Mercury answered with eight points right back, the Lynx never flinched. Minnesota did not trail in the first half and scored 54 points to take an 11-point lead to the locker room.

The Lynx continued the torrid pace, scoring 100 points for the second time this season on a Rashonda McCants free throw with a little more than five minutes remaining. The Lynx last reached the century mark in a season-opening victory against the Sky.

Minnesota had five players in double figures and got 37 points off the bench. The win was a total team effort.

“My favorite kind of basketball is team basketball,” Wiggins said. “The fans enjoy it. We enjoy playing it. It’s hard to stop because you can't just focus on one person.”

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