PHOENIX – The Lynx countered every punch from Phoenix with one of their own Friday night.
Maya Moore scored 21 points as the Lynx survived a nip-and-tuck fourth quarter by beating the Mercury 91-83 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Mercury honored point guard Diana Taurasi as the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, giving away 5,000 bobbleheads while also installing a petting zoo full of goats to represent her as the Greatest Of All Time. But Taurasi and her teammates could not keep the Lynx from improving to 12-1. They have won 10 in a row against Phoenix, including playoff games.
Sylvia Fowles had the edge on Brittney Griner in a matchup of the WNBA’s premier centers. Fowles had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Lynx, while Griner, saddled by foul trouble, finished with six points and three rebounds in 20-plus minutes. Griner entered the night averaging a career-best 23.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Phoenix took a 63-61 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Moore came back with a three-pointer that gave the Lynx the lead for good. From there, every time the Mercury pulled within one possession, the Lynx had a response.
Jia Perkins’ three-pointer off an assist from Moore made it 69-65; Perkins then hit a jump shot for a 71-67 Lynx lead, and Fowles grabbed a rebound off a Lindsay Whalen miss and scored for a 73-69 advantage.
After Phoenix again pulled within one on Camille Little’s three-pointer, Rebekkah Brunson responded with a three-pointer of her own. The Mercury then came up empty on consecutive possessions, while at the other end baskets by Seimone Augustus and Fowles built the Lynx lead up to 80-72. Moore hit back-to-back shots to extend the Lynx lead back to double digits at 84-74.
That enabled the Lynx to weather the Mercury’s final push, which saw Phoenix get within 85-83 with 16.8 seconds to play on a Taurasi three-pointer. Fowles followed with two free throws, Taurasi missed a three and Brunson hit two more free throws before time ran out on the home team.
Whalen finished with 14 points, Augustus had 11 and Brunson had seven with 10 rebounds for the Lynx. Brunson’s second rebound of the night pushed her past Tina Thompson for third in WNBA history; Brunson now has 3,079 rebounds, trailing only Tamika Catchings (3,316) and Lisa Leslie (3,307).
Moore has finished with at least 20 points for five consecutive games. She has 3,997 for her career.
Little led the Mercury (7-6) with a season-high 16 points, and Taurasi and Danielle Robinson each added 15.