Mercury 79, Lynx 67
MERCURY TEAM/SEASON NOTES:
The Mercury improve to 16-11 this season and move 2.5 games behind Minnesota for the Western Conference lead.
Phoenix wins the season series against the Lynx for the second consecutive season and are now 6-2 (.750) vs. Minnesota since the 2014 season.
The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Mercury and a season-high two game slide at US Airways Center.
The Mercury shot 46.2-percent (30-for-65) tonight and it’s the first time they have shot over 45.0-percent in a game since July 30th against Tulsa when they shot 51.9-percent (28-for-54).
The Mercury move to 11-3 (.786) when leading or tied after the first quarter.
The 22 points by the Lynx in the first half are the lowest scored by a Mercury opponent in a half this season.
Phoenix is now 7-3 (.700) this season in games where they only have one day of rest.
The Mercury held Minnesota to only 6 points off of turnovers, which ties the opponent season-low set my Los Angeles in an overtime game on July 5.
MERCURY GAME/PLAYER NOTES:
MERCURY CENTER BRITTNEY GRINER recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Her last double-double came against Chicago on August 9th when she recorded 21 points and 14 rebounds.
NOELLE QUINN scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting tonight marking her fourth double-digit scoring effort off the bench this season.
MARTA XARGAY CASADEMONT recorded her first WNBA start tonight and notched seven points (3-of-5), four assists and two rebounds.
LYNX GAME/PLAYER NOTES:
LYNX CENTER SYLVIA FOWLES recorded her third double-double (95th career double-double) this season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Minnesota’s 22 points in the first half is a season-low for the Lynx, one point under their previous season low of 23 points against Los Angeles on June 16th.
The Lynx have lost three of their past four games and now travel to New York to take on the Liberty. Their next home game is against the Mercury on August 30th to begin a four-game home stand.
Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve:
(On overall thought of the game/key components to PHX win…):
“Obviously, we had a miserable first half offensively. I have to give credit to Phoenix’s defense, they were very aggressive. We were mindful of the fact that Phoenix had lost three in a row and two of which were at home. They are a very prideful group, especially at home. I thought they came out and played in the first half with the aggressiveness that was necessary.”
(Continued overall thoughts of game/difficulties finding rhythm,…):
“We struggled with a lot. We only had 22 points in the first half. But it’s the WNBA, so you move on. You have short term memory and go to the next one. We fly home and get a few days off which will be nice for us, then we go on the road again and our schedule has been tough. Like every WNBA team, you have that stretch where it’s really hard and that’s what’s happening, but you just have to keep going.”
(On Sylvia Fowles performance…)
“I just the Sylv (Sylvia Fowles) was very locked into the game plan and on both ends of the floor. I thought she was really good and that was a bright spot for us today.”
Lynx forward Maya Moore
(On overall thoughts of the game…):
“First half, we were not as efficient as we needed to be on offense. Some of our turnovers led to easy baskets but I still thought we competed. Second half, I thought we responded much better offensively; we almost doubled our points. When you’re playing a team at home, we aren’t disciplined with our schemes. When they start to get a rhythm it can really snowball. They ended up with more runs than we did and that’s just the name of the game. If you’re on the road, you have to limit the number of the team’s runs and we just didn’t put enough of those together.”
(On Phoenix’s actions that caused troubles on offense…)
“Some of it was us just not being patient. Phoenix does a good job of being big, long and aggressive. We let it speed us up a little a few times. We tried to be aggressive and get to the free throw line, which we did a pretty good job of doing in the first half. But ultimately, we have to not let them get deflections and be able to have a flow of moving the ball a little bit better.”
Lynx center Sylvia Fowles
(On the team having a slow start …):
“I thought we came out slow in the first half and picked it up in the second. We didn’t get into a good flow in the first half with moving the ball and getting a groove overall. I think Phoenix came out aggressive and we had to adjust to their aggressiveness. I think most of the plays were us not doing what we need to do on offense. Once we stopped doing that in the second half, it showed we can pretty much stick with anybody. We just have to put defensive and offense collectively.”
(On personal performance/what was working for her…):
“I think defense wise, I played okay, offense I didn’t play so good. The thing that worked for me most was defense getting me going. When I can get into a defensive groove, it makes it easier on offense for me. Overall, offensively I think I did average at best.”
Mercury Coach Sandy Brondello
(Thoughts on the big win today.)
“They’re (Minnesota) the front runners and we always get ready for them. But it wasn’t even about Minnesota our opponent, it was more about focusing on what we needed to do and I thought that that was one of our better games of the season. We talked about staying together as a unit and I thought we really did that tonight and you can see it—trusting each other, playing together as a team and usually good things happen.”
(On rebounding being a big focus today.):
“It’s something we haven’t done well all season long. Today, we set little goals for ourselves and that was to have the rebound margin so it was good. Maybe I should’ve started that a few games ago, but it just gives us a focus point—things we need to work on for that game and I think we achieved four of the five goals we set ourselves and that’s a start. Championships win with defense and rebounding and I thought we did both tonight pretty well.”
Mercury center Brittney Griner
(On today’s win.):
“Minnesota brings out a spark in us and we needed that. So now we just want to be consistent. We don’t want to get one win and go right back to what we were doing—we want to remember what we did today and how we played, just breaking down every quarter and just try to win a quarter and then if we keep winning quarters, we’re going to win the game. ”
(On going up against Sylvia Fowles.):
“She’s just as big as I am, so that’s always good. I like it, it’s different. I don’t see a lot of doubling or tripling me. You kind of get used to getting doubled but then you get a game where it’s like one-on-one the whole time, but it is a challenge just because we don’t get to see somebody our size all season really until we play each other.”
Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner:
(On playing against Minnesota so well today.):
“They are the number one team in the West, so of course you kind of get that energy, that high of playing them. But we needed a win; we had a three game losing streak. I think we kind of got angry at ourselves and took accountability for our own actions so we went out there and played a great game. We finally won the first quarter so that’s a plus.”
(On what to focus on for the upcoming road trip.):
“We have to win, we have to keep that second spot. Tulsa has been on the road, they’re kind of right there with us so that’s our motivation—we have to keep that second spot so we can have home court for the first round.”