PHOENIX – After trailing by four points at halftime, the Lynx opened the second half on a 9-0 run and pulled away for an 83-69 victory over Phoenix on Friday night.
The win was their fifth in row, extending what was already their longest winning streak of the season.
Four starters scored in double figures for the Lynx, led by Odyssey Sims with 22 points and nine assists and Damiris Dantas with 17 points.
Rookie Napheesa Collier had 14 points and Sylvia Fowles had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Her fifth rebound of the game enabled the 6-6 veteran center to pass Tamika Catchings, the former Indiana Fever star, for second on the all-time career rebound list. Fowles now has 3,323.
By the end of the third quarter, the Lynx had blown the game open, outscoring the Mercury 29-9, with Sims getting 11, to take a 16-point lead into the fourth. It was the eighth time in team history that the Lynx have outscored an opponent by 20 or more points in a quarter.
“We got turnovers in third quarter, ran out and played off our defensive rebounds, got some drag screens. [And] Odyssey [Sims] was terrific,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, who got her 231st victory, breaking a tie with Michael Cooper for fifth for the most WNBA career wins.
Phoenix center Brittney Griner picked up two technical fouls in the third quarter and was ejected with 2:51 left and the Lynx ahead by 10.
“Credit to Minnesota, they came out of the locker room really aggressive,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “We just didn’t get the calls, and momentum went against us. They made a lot of shots, we didn’t make the shots. We lost our composure a little bit. End of story.”
By virtue of Friday’s win, the Lynx, who shot 52.5% from the field, control their own destiny in the race to host a first-round, single-elimination playoff game Wednesday.
Minnesota (18-15) is a game ahead of Seattle (17-16) for the sixth spot in the WNBA standings. If the Lynx win Sunday at Los Angeles, they will clinch a home game.
They could also a clinch a spot if both the Lynx and Seattle lose Sunday, but if they finish tied in the standings, Seattle has the tiebreaker edge and will get the No. 6 seed and host the Lynx.
This was the Lynx’ third win over Phoenix this season — the other two were at Target Center — and 13th in the past 14 regular-season games.
Griner, the WNBA’s leading scorer at 20.8 points per game, had 16 points and seven rebounds this time before being ejected as the Mercury, who have clinched the No. 8 seed, lost its third game in a row.