Lynx Spoil Return of Dupree, Prahalis

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com

Playing its second game in as many nights (and its third road game in four days), the Minnesota Lynx certainly didn’t show any signs of fatigue in an 89-66 victory over the Mercury.

The game was within reach until the start of the second quarter. Trailing 25-24 with 8:47 remaining in the half, Minnesota went on a 13-0 run over the next 3:29 to take a 37-25 lead. Erin Thorn hit three of her season-high five 3-pointers in the stretch to lead the Lynx. Minnesota outscored Phoenix 27-12 in the quarter, extending the lead to an insurmountable 17 points at the half.

“Thorn did a great job of starting out the run,” said DeWanna Bonner. “She hit three threes in a row at the start of the second quarter and they just got going. They’re a tough team. Maybe they’ll go all the way but they’ll definitely be a contender.”

On a positive note, returning to the court tonight were Sammy Prahalis and Candice Dupree (who also signed a multi-year contract to remain with the team earlier today). Both players were finally healthy after missing six and 21 games respectively.

“I’m excited,” Dupree said regarding her extension. “I think we have a great opportunity to win a championship next year, with or without a great draft pick. We have good players. With everybody healthy, we can make a good run.”

As the X-Factor well knows, Dupree had arthroscopic surgery on her left knee and Prahalis recovered from a shoulder injury. And with as many injuries as the Mercury has had this season, it’s easy to overlook what the sidelined players brought to the team.

At the time of their injuries, Prahalis was averaging 12.1 points and 4.5 assists (she led the Mercury to a pair of wins over playoff teams averaging 14 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds). Dupree began the season scoring 17.3 points through eight games, including seven straight games of scoring at least 13 points, her longest streak since 2007.

Tonight, Prahalis tallied a game-high eight assists to go along with 14 points while Dupree finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

“I would say I was a little rusty,” Candice Dupree said after the game. “More like a lot rusty. Today felt pretty good, though. My knee’s feeling good. Body feels good but a little winded.”

The Lynx swept the 2012 season series with the Mercury 4-0, marking the first season sweep by either team in the history of the series which dates back to the 1999 season. The defending champs will have home court advantage throughout the postseason beginning next Thursday.

Notes

- The team wore pink uniforms tonight as part of the league’s Breast Health Awareness Initiative. Phoenix will also wear pink uniforms for their final game Sunday, September 23 against the Storm.

- Sammy Prahalis scored 14 points and had eight assists, one shy of her career high. It marked her 13th game this season with at least five assists.

- Krystal Thomas grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, becoming just the third player in franchise history to grab 10 or more rebounds in four consecutive games. Thomas is averaging 11.5 rebounds in her last four games and 8.6 in 23 games as a starter this season.

- The Mercury's final game will be against the Seattle Storm on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 12 p.m.