Lynx Handle Mercury In 105-83 Opening Day Win

Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate


Pregame Celebration Photo Gallery
Feature: Lynx Handle Pregame Emotions, Come Through With Win

After the rings were handed out and the banner honoring the 2011 WNBA Champion Lynx was unveiled, the team got down to business, securing a 105-83 result against the Phoenix Mercury at Target Center for the home opener and the start of the regular season.

The Mercury led for much of the first quarter by as many as five points and were tied 20-20 with the Lynx at the end of the first. But Minnesota came to life in the second, collecting points off of steals thanks to their full-court pressure and outscoring Phoenix 36-23 for a 56-43 halftime lead.

“We kind of found our rhythm there, we got after it, started making some hustle plays, were aggressive,” said Maya Moore. “And whenever we’re aggressive and locked in together, things like that can happen.”

Moore’s 13 points made her one of six Lynx scoring in double digits, including Seimone Augustus (19), Monica Wright (15), Lindsay Whalen (13), Rebekkah Brunson (12) and Candice Wiggins (11). Brunson also pulled down nine rebounds, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Whalen and Wright each dished out five assists.

Augustus left the floor with a rib injury toward the end of the third quarter after she landed on a courtside seat after diving for a loose ball. She returned to the bench with six minutes remaining in the game to a standing ovation from Lynx fans.

Lynx vs Mercury
“It never feels good to have someone like Seimone out of the game when the game’s still in the balance,” said coach Cheryl Reeve.

But her teammates were ready to step up in her absence, with Whalen scoring 10 of her 13 points in the game’s final 11 minutes, and Minnesota’s reserves outscoring Phoenix’s bench 40-8.

“Having most of our team [from last season] back, everybody is pretty clear about what their role is and what’s expected of them,” said forward Maya Moore. “I thought the balance with the scoring—you know, we share the ball very well—is exactly who we are, and that’s what we want to continue to do.”

The Mercury, who were missing Diana Taurasi today due to a strained left hip flexor, were led by former Lynx Charde Houston’s 24 points and DeWanna Bonner’s 22 points.

Leader of the Pack

Veteran Lynx guard Seimone Augustus opened the game by addressing the crowd during the championship ceremony, thanking the coaches, the league and the Lynx faithful who supported the squad throughout the 2011 season. Fans got a chance to again show their pride in Augustus as she led the Lynx in scoring despite having to leave the game due to her rib injury during the third quarter. Augustus scored 19 points in just under 24 minutes.

Reeve said that Augustus will make the trip with the team to New York Tuesday.

Highlight to Remember

To start their run in the second quarter, Taj found Moore under the basket for two, and Whalen followed it up with a fast break off a steal which she dished to Moore for the layup.

The Numbers Game

Minnesota shot 57.1 percent from the field, compared with Phoenix’s 40 percent. The Lynx's starters shot 28-for-54 from the field on the day. On the boards, Minnesota outrebounded the Mercury 40-28.

Quote of the Game

"I tried to do a little razzle-dazzle and lost the ball. From that point I just tried to save the ball and ran into the back of the chair. Just bruised my ribs—I'll be fine. ... The initial pain was probably worse than it is right now." — Seimone Augustus talking about her third quarter injury

Looking Ahead

The Lynx head to New York for a 6 p.m. game Tuesday, May 22. They then return home to face the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m. at Target Center.

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Lynx on Twitter.