Minnesota Phoenix Notes

WNBA Post-Game Notes
Minnesota vs. Phoenix
June 22, 2005 @ Target Center

Phoenix 59
MINNESOTA 75

* Minnesota ended its brief two-game losing streak with tonight's decision, its third consecutive home win. The Lynx improve to 4-1 at Target Center and 6-5 overall, good for a 3rd-place tie with Los Angeles in the Western Conference. Minnesota has won five of seven since opening the year 1-3; the Lynx will visit Indiana on Friday before returning home to face Seattle on Sunday evening.

* The final 16-point spread represents Minnesota's second-biggest victory of 2005, having posted a 78-60 triumph over Washington on June 11. Four of the Lynx' last five outings have had final margins of 10+ points; each of their previous five contests had been decided by six points or fewer. Minnesota has taken eight of the last 10 meetings from Phoenix, increasing its all-time series edge to 12-10. The Mercury have now dropped six in a row at Target Center since posting an 80-67 victory on July 14, 2001.

* Tonight's loss wrapped up an 0-3 road trip for Phoenix, completing the first of three sets of back-to-back outings this year following Tuesday's 77-56 defeat at Washington. The Mercury kicked off the trip with a 65-54 setback last Saturday in New York; they begin 2005 by playing 11 of their first 15 contests away from America West Arena. Phoenix returns home to square off with Connecticut on Saturday night.

* The Mercury had won two of their previous three contests before the three-game swing, highlighted by a 66-63 victory at Los Angeles on June 8 -- their first win over the Sparks in L.A. since 1997. Phoenix slips to 3-9 overall (2-7 on the road); their most recent victory was a 76-62 home triumph over San Antonio last Wednesday.

* Minnesota never trailed in the contest, leading by as many as eight before Diana Taurasi's three-pointer pulled the Mercury to within 23-22 with four minutes left before intermission. However, the Lynx closed the half with an 8-2 spurt, featuring treys from Stacey Lovelace and Amanda Lassiter. Phoenix whittled a 14-point deficit to 55-48 with 7:15 to play in the contest, but Minnesota outscored the Mercury 14-2 over the next four minutes to put the game out of reach.

* Phoenix shot just 26.4% from the floor, the 2nd-lowest percentage in franchise history (25.5% at Sacramento, July 29, 2001). The Mercury's previous low for 2005 came on Opening Night, when they hit 30.0% vs. the Monarchs. Phoenix finished with 59 points, its third consecutive sub-60 performance (fourth overall). The Mercury averaged 56.3 ppg on the three-game trip, dropping to 12th in the WNBA in scoring at 65.0 ppg.

* The percentage represents Minnesota's 3rd-best defensive effort of all-time; the club-record low for an opponent is San Antonio's 25.9% showing last June 3. The Lynx improve to 5-0 this season when holding the opposition below 40% from the floor. They're giving up just 36.4% in five home starts, but are permitting a combined 44.8% away from Target Center. Minnesota has now held eight of its 11 foes below 70 points; the season low is Houston's 58-point night on June 7.

* Minnesota finished at 48.1%, bouncing back from three straight sub-40% outings on the West Coast (a combined 34.5%). The Lynx outscored Phoenix 40-16 in the paint and 10-0 in fast-break points. During the current three-game home winning streak, Minnesota is scoring 75.3 ppg and shooting 51.0%; that run began with a season-high 54.0% night vs. Charlotte on June 4.

* The Lynx held a slim 37-36 rebounding advantage (19-13 in the 1st half), the fifth time in six games they've outboarded the opposition. Phoenix came up short in all three of its games on the trip, after outrebounding three of its previous opponents (by an average of +6.3 rpg).

* Taurasi led the Mercury with 14 points and five assists, before fouling out with 2:33 remaining. She went 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, as Phoenix hoisted a season-high 23 three-point attempts (making six). Penny Taylor was the only other Mercury player to reach double figures, scoring 12 points.

* Nicole Ohlde's 14 points topped Minnesota; she finished 7-for-9 from the field, after hitting just 32.4% on the West Coast swing. Vanessa Hayden tallied a season-high 12 points and added three blocks, pushing her past Ohlde (50) into 2nd place on the Lynx' career block chart. Amanda Lassiter hauled in a game- and season-high seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Katie Smith finished with 12 points, leaving her 87 short of the 5000-point mark for her U.S. pro career.

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