Lynx 67, Mercury 59
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Katie Smith hit the 500th "three" of her U.S. professional career.
David Sherman, WNBAE/Getty Images
Minnesota picked up its second straight win by defeating Phoenix, evening its record at 6-6. Prior to last Saturday's victory over Indiana, the Lynx had dropped five of their previous six contests. Minnesota moves past Houston (6-7) into third place in the Western Conference, a game behind Seattle (7-5). The Lynx kick off a two-game road trip Sunday afternoon in Washington.
The Mercury, meanwhile, suffered their fourth consecutive loss, falling to 2-11 on the year and remaining in the Western cellar. Phoenix is 0-6 away from America West Arena, and continues its five-game road trip with a stop tomorrow night in Detroit. The trip, which began Wednesday in New York, wraps up with stops in Indiana (next Wednesday) and San Antonio (July 5).
The victory was Minnesota's second in a row against Phoenix, having tied a club record with its 24-point win (75-51) over the Mercury in the clubs' previous meeting (Aug. 2, 2002 at Target Center). Prior to that game, the Lynx had dropped six of their previous seven vs. Phoenix; they trail the all-time series
by an 8-6 count. Starting Aug. 4, Minnesota will play the Mercury three times in its final nine games.
The Lynx held Phoenix to 37.7% shooting, their second consecutive sub-40% defensive effort (Indiana 37.7% last Saturday). Before that, Minnesota had allowed 50%+ shooting in four of its previous six outings, giving up a combined 50.5% in that stretch. The Lynx entered tonight's contest ranked last in the WNBA in field-goal defense at 46.0%. Minnesota is now 6-2 when holding its opponent under 50%.
Minnesota shot 51.0% against the Mercury, its third 50% outing of the season and 11th in club history. Earlier, the Lynx hit 51.0% on Opening Night (May 24) vs. Sacramento and 53.6% on June 10 at Los Angeles. Their 63.2% showing in the first half tonight marked the third time this year they've topped 60% prior to halftime. On the season, Minnesota is shooting 46.0% in the first half and 40.7% afterwards.
The Lynx racked up a 31-18 rebounding advantage, their first double-digit spread of the season and the fifth time in six games they've outboarded the opposition. Phoenix' 18 rebounds are a franchise record low; they'd grabbed 19 on three previous occasions, most recently vs. Sacramento on July 27, 2002. It's also the WNBA's single-game low this season, and the fewest ever by a Lynx opponent.
Minnesota committed a franchise-record 27 turnovers vs. Phoenix, surpassing its previous standard of 26 (at Houston, Aug. 9, 2000). The Lynx also shattered a club record with 19 miscues in the first half, just one short of the WNBA mark for a single half (Cleveland at New York, June 10, 1999). Minnesota been averaging just 11.8 TOs in its previous four contests; they've committed 15+ TOs in only four of 12 games to date.
Lynx guard Katie Smith
scored a game-high 18 points, including the 500th three-pointer of her U.S. pro career
in the first half. She finished the game with 502 career treys; New York's Crystal Robinson (468) is the only other player with more than 300. Smith, who also grabbed a game- and season-high seven rebounds tonight, is averaging 22.0 ppg (on 50.6% shooting) in her last five contests.
Phoenix guard Tamicha Jackson matched her season high with 18 points (also June 14 vs. Houston) while swiping a career-high five steals. Mercury reserve guard Iziane Castro chipped in a career-high 12 points, bettering her previous high of 11 set last year with Miami (vs. Washington, Aug. 4, 2002).