Mercury Unable to Shoot Past Lynx
Entering tonight as the top two scoring teams in the WNBA, the Phoenix Mercury hosted the Minnesota Lynx, hoping for a better result than the 20-point loss the team suffered on June 6.
Unfortunately for Phoenix, while the game was close for about three quarters, the Lynx out-scored the Mercury 24-9 in the fourth quarter to come away with an 80-69 win.
The Lynx has now won seven-straight games in the head-to-head series, and won seven of the nine matchups the last two seasons, in both of which Minnesota advanced to the WNBA Finals.
“I think we started pretty good,” said Brittney Griner (10 points, 7 rebounds) after the game. “We were up and at one point they just broke it down. We didn’t match their intensity level.”
Tonight was one of those games where the Mercury couldn’t buy a bucket. It happens to every team. If you take away Diana Taurasi’s 8-16 shooting, the team shot a combined 14-48 from the field (29 percent).
Additionally, the Lynx completely dominated the boards. Minnesota out-rebounded the Mercury 48-26 including a huge advantage of 17-6 on the offensive glass.
“Every shot they missed, they got the ball back 46 percent of the time,” said Corey Gaines afterwards. “It just killed us. We can’t have that. Even with the bad shooting we were up in the game. You don’t have to score when you get the ball but you can’t give them the ball back when you get those rebounds.”
It’s important to note that the Mercury is still playing relatively short-handed. Alexis Hornbuckle wasn’t able to go tonight due to a sprained ankle, Brittney Griner could only play five minutes per quarter and Penny Taylor is continuing to work on strengthening her knee.
Looking on the bright side as I always try to do, the Mercury was actually leading the Lynx in the fourth quarter in spite of their shooting and rebounding woes (rarely, if ever, will DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree combine to go 4-26 from the field again).
Plus, the Mercury held the Lynx to a season-low 80 points.
“When it’s clicking, it’s clicking,” said Diana Taurasi (28 points, 3 assists). “There were stretches where we were doing really well. There was good tempo and we were making shots. When the game is tight like that, half-court offense is just as important as your half-court defense”
At this point, with another big home game coming up Friday against the Washington Mystics, they have to get back in the gym and focus on getting better – just as they’ve always done after a loss.
The Minnesota Lynx entered the night as the league’s top offensive rebounding team, averaging 14.8 offensive boards per game. Tonight, the Lynx grabbed a season-high-tying 17 offensive rebounds (also had 17 vs. Phoenix on June 6) on their way to 19 second-chance points. Minnesota grabbed a season-high-tying 48 rebounds tonight compared to Phoenix’s 26.
Quote of the Night: Diana Taurasi on the team's fourth quarter
“We were up going in the fourth and then they turned it up. It’s a good lesson for us.”