Phoenix - Coming off an embarrassing 24-point road loss to the Chicago Sky six days earlier, the Lynx reasserted themselves Friday night as the best team in the WNBA.
The Lynx routed Phoenix 88-71 at Talking Stick Resort Arena as Sylvia Fowles won another much-ballyhooed matchup at center with Phoenix’s Brittney Griner.
Fowles had an efficient 18 points — making eight of 12 shots from the field — and had 10 rebounds. It was her ninth double-double of this season and the 116th of her career — third most all-time behind Lisa Leslie and Tina Charles. Fowles, in her 10th pro season, needs just five more points to reach 4,000 for her career.
Griner, the Mercury's 6-foot-9 center, will be out for three to four weeks after suffering a bone bruise to her knee and a sprained ankle in the second half. The Lynx and Mercury play again Sunday night and again on August 22. Both games are at the Xcel Energy Center.
“The physicality that she receives every night, the attention that she’s going to draw because of how well she’s playing, it’s much harder than it even appears for you to keep your head in those situations,” teammate Maya Moore said of Fowles. “We always try to be there for her and remind her, ‘It’s going to come, it’s going to come.’ That’s just a testament of who she is.”
Griner, who came in averaging a league-high 22.8 points per game, had 15 points but only four rebounds.
Two other players for Minnesota, which shot 52.3 percent from the field, also had big games. Moore, coming off an eight-point game vs. the Sky in which she missed all three of her field goal attempts, had 19 points, as did Seimone Augustus, who set her season high.
The Lynx are now 14-2, the best record after 16 games in franchise history.
“After our disappointing effort last weekend, we just got back to the basics,” Moore said, “and really just ... reminded ourselves of who we are in some of the staples on defense.”
Griner didn’t have much scoring support from her teammates. Diana Taurasi, the Mercury’s other marquee player and the leading career scorer in WNBA history, had an off night. She was 5-for-17 from the field, missing all six of her three-point shots, and finished with 14 points. Danielle Robinson and Monique Currie added 10 points apiece for Phoenix (11-7), which shot 36.1 percent and was a woeful 4-for-18 on three-pointers (22.2 percent).
This win was the Lynx’s ninth in a row over Phoenix, including three in the playoffs last year. The Mercury had won four games in a row since a 91-83 loss to the Lynx on June 30. The Lynx now lead Los Angeles by two games in the overall standings and Phoenix by four.
Minnesota took a 23-13 lead at the end of the first quarter, led 41-24 at halftime — that’s a season low for an opponent — and 64-49 after three quarters. Renee Montgomery hit a jumper with 5:50 left in the first quarter to give the Lynx a 9-8 lead and they led the rest of the way.
LYNX 88, PHOENIX 71
Sunday: 6 p.m. vs. Phoenix (FSN)