Postgame Notes: June 5, 2004

Lynx 76, Mercury 68
Target Center

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Minnesota completed its four-game homestand at 3-1 with Saturday's eight-point win over Phoenix, climbing over the .500 mark for the first time this season (4-3) and moving into second place in the Western Conference, a half-game behind Seattle (4-2). Coupled with the 55-47 victory over San Antonio on Thursday, the Lynx are also riding their first winning streak in 2004. They'll visit Los Angeles on Friday before returning to Target Center to host Sacramento (June 17) and Houston (June 19).

The Mercury slip to 3-3 on the year, finishing a winless two-game road trip. They lost a 72-45 decision at Seattle on Thursday night to snap a three-game winning streak. Phoenix falls into a third-place tie with Houston (4-4) in the West; they'll kick off a six-game homestand Wednesday vs. Connecticut.

Phoenix opened up a 43-29 lead late in the first half before the Lynx rallied to win. That marks the second-biggest comeback in franchise history for Minnesota; they made up a 16-point deficit to win at Orlando on July 7, 1999. It's the 10th double-digit comeback overall for the Lynx; they outscored Phoenix 45-25 in the second half, and own a +7.0 ppg advantage (37.6-30.6) after intermission this season. The Mercury enjoyed a 23-22 halftime lead at Seattle on Thursday, but were outscored 50-22 in the final 20 minutes.

Minnesota racked up a 29-19 rebounding advantage, its biggest margin of the season. The Lynx have outboarded five of seven opponents thus far, including three of four at Target Center. Meanwhile, Phoenix has come up short in all six of its outings, three of which have been by double-digit spreads. The Mercury were outrebounded 31-17 at Seattle on Thursday; they're last in the WNBA in rebounding margin (-7.5 rpg), while Minnesota ranks third (+3.0 rpg) behind Detroit and Indiana.

Phoenix shot 60.7% (17-for-28) in the first half, the highest percentage allowed by Minnesota for one half since Charlotte's 66.7% effort (12-for-18) in the second half on June 20, 2003. However, the Lynx limited Phoenix to 9-for-27 shooting (33.3%) after the break, two nights after holding San Antonio to 6-for-32 accuracy (18.8%) in the final 20 minutes.

The Lynx finished at a season-high 50.0%, while Phoenix ended the night at 47.3%. Minnesota, which topped 50% on eight occasions a year ago, had slumped to 37.6% in the four games prior to Saturday. They finished 5-for-12 from three-point range and held the Mercury to just 1-for-10. Phoenix entered the game leading the WNBA in three-point accuracy (51.6%), while the Lynx ranked last at 30.7%.

Plenette Pierson led Phoenix with a season-high 15 points, helping the Mercury compile a 22-10 edge in bench scoring. Anna DeForge tied her career high with seven assists, while Diana Taurasi tallied 13 points before fouling out in the final minute. Taurasi is scoring 10.7 ppg (on 37.1% shooting) over her last three games, after opening the season at 23.3 ppg (52.4%) in the Mercury's first three contests.

Tamika Williams pumped in a career-high 22 points for Minnesota, adding 10 rebounds for her fifth career double-double. Williams had scored 19 points on two previous occasions, including June 23, 2002 at Phoenix. She went 7-for-7 from the field, setting a Lynx record and finishing one short of the WNBA single-game record for shooting perfection. Williams has now made her last nine field goal attempts, tying her own club record; she leads the league in FG accuracy at 66.7%.

Katie Smith scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half on Saturday, boosting her WNBA career point total to 2,994 in 166 games. She's on the verge of becoming the fourth player in league history to reach the 3,000-point plateau, and will do so in fewer games than any of the other three (Lisa Leslie 172, Tina Thompson 195, Andrea Stinson 211). Smith also went 7-for-7 from the FT line vs. Phoenix; she's now 34-for-35 on the season.

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