Postgame Notes: July 9, 2004

Lynx 61, Mercury 59
Target Center

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Minnesota bounced back from Thursday's last-second loss at Indiana to rally for a two-point victory over Phoenix, winning for the third time in four games and leapfrogging both the Mercury and Houston into third place in the Western Conference playoff race at 8-9 overall. The Lynx improve to 7-3 at Target Center, tying Los Angeles (7-0) and Indiana (7-3) for the most home victories in the WNBA this season. Minnesota will continue its three-game homestand Sunday vs. Sacramento.

Phoenix led by 20 points (55-35) with under seven minutes remaining tonight, but was outscored 26-4 by the Lynx after that point. That's the biggest regular-season deficit Minnesota has ever overcome, surpassing a 16-point comeback at Orlando on July 7, 1999. The Lynx rallied from a 21-point hole to defeat Los Angeles, 74-72, in Game 1 of their WNBA Playoff series last Aug. 28. Minnesota finished tonight's game hitting nine of its final 13 shots (including 5-for-7 from three-point range), while Phoenix misfired on its last seven FG attempts (over the last 5:00) and also went 1-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Minnesota has now made up double-figure deficits in each of its last three wins, having spotted Detroit a 10-point advantage on July 3 and rallying from 11 points down to defeat Houston on June 30. In the Mercury's previous visit to Target Center (June 5), they built a 43-29 lead late in the first half before Minnesota came back for a 76-68 victory. The Lynx have beaten Phoenix five straight times at home, and six of the last eight meetings overall to square the all-time series at 10-10.

The loss represents the second-largest lead the Mercury have ever seen slip away, topped only by a 22-point advantage that disappeared in Phoenix' 70-62 loss to Utah on Aug. 20, 1999. The Mercury are now 2-4 on their season-high seven-game road trip, which concludes Sunday at New York. Phoenix drops to 3-6 overall on the road. In the clubs' previous meeting (June 22 at America West Arena), the Lynx were handed a 69-46 drubbing — their biggest loss of the season as well as Phoenix' largest victory margin.

Tonight's game marks the Lynx' first win by fewer than eight points this season, moving to 1-3 in two-possession games (six points or less). On the flipside, Phoenix falls to 0-6 in that category; their current three-game losing streak has been by a total of five points. The slide began with a 61-60 loss at Indiana on July 3, and includes a 73-71 setback at Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

Minnesota received a season-high point total from its non-starters, outscoring the Mercury by a 30-4 count off the bench. The Lynx' previous high was 29 points, set on Opening Night (May 20) at Seattle. Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert had nine points while Amanda Lassiter and Amber Jacobs chipped in eight apiece; all 25 of those points came in the second half. Lovelace-Tolbert also grabbed six rebounds.

The Lynx committed just 13 turnovers, tying their second-lowest total of the year. They also had 13 miscues Thursday at Indiana, and have sliced their TOs to 13.7 per game in the past three. Prior to that, Minnesota had averaged 19.5 TOs in its previous six contests; they rank last in the league at 17.6 a night.

Mercury guard Anna DeForge led all scorers with 25 points, one shy of her career best. DeForge also tied a career high by sinking five three-pointers (in seven tries), boosting her season accuracy to 47.6%. The WNBA's reigning Player of the Week, she's averaging 19.0 ppg (on 55.9% shooting) in her last five outings. Meanwhile, Diana Taurasi finished with 11 points while hitting 4-for-17 from the floor. Taurasi entered tonight's contest averaging 22.7 ppg in her previous three starts; she's scoring 14.0 ppg (but shooting just 34.9%) in three games vs. Minnesota this season.

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