Lindsay Whalen came four points short of her career high with 29 as the Lynx set a WNBA record for best start to a season.
PHOENIX — The Lynx set a WNBA record for best start to a season Friday night, and the way they played against Phoenix, the defending league champions aren't planning to slow down any time soon.
Lindsay Whalen scored 29 points to nearly double her previous season high, and the Lynx improved to 10-0 by beating the Mercury 78-60 on Friday night before an announced crowd of 7,394 at US Airways Center.
"We're excited about that," coach Cheryl Reeve said after earning her 50th career victory with the Lynx. "We're not a team that talks about records, but when it got to be nine we thought, 'What the hell? Let's embrace this thing and take our place in history.' We're happy to be the only team to start off 10-0."
The victory not only broke the tie the Lynx had with the 2001 and '03 Los Angeles Sparks for the WNBA's best starts, but it also was their club-record 10th consecutive road victory and 13th regular-season victory in a row dating to last season, tied for the third-best streak in league history. The league record is 18, by the 2001 Sparks.
Whalen, coming off a 10-assist game last Saturday, found shooting, and scoring, more to her taste Friday. The former Gophers star, whose previous season high for scoring was 15 points, shot 11-for-14 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. She needed less than two minutes to score six points as the Lynx raced to 11-4 lead.
The Mercury pulled within two at 14-12 on a three-pointer by Alexis Gray-Lawson with 2:39 left in the first. But Whalen, who has scored 33 points in a WNBA game twice in her career, scored another seven points as the Lynx outscored Phoenix 16-5 over the next nearly 10 minutes to open a 30-17 lead.
They never looked back. Seimone Augustus, back after missing two games because of a right quadriceps strain, scored 14 points, including a three-pointer with about five minutes to go that gave the Lynx their largest lead at 74-51.
"It feels good," Augustus said. "It's still giving me a little bit of trouble, but the more I play on it, the faster I'll be able to get back into the flow of my game. ... With [the Mercury] being so long on the inside, they were able to slow us down a little bit in the paint playing that zone, but overall I felt I was able to do what I needed to do."
Monica Wright added 11 points for the Lynx, who swept Phoenix in the Western Conference finals last year and opened this season May 20 with a 105-83 victory over Phoenix at Target Center. Both victories came with Mercury star Diana Taurasi on the sidelines; she remains out of the lineup because of a strained hip flexor that has kept her benched for all but two games this season.
DeWanna Bonner scored 18 points and Candice Dupree 11 for the Mercury (2-6), which was held to its lowest scoring total since a 77-55 loss to San Antonio on Aug. 28, 2008.
"Whalen had a great game, a lot of open shots, putbacks, running the break, free throws," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. "I think the defense was pretty good. We held the team to 38 percent, and as a team they're shooting in the high 50s. And I think they lead the league in scoring, and we held them under their average. ... We got outrebounded by one, but we just couldn't score."
|Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick||2||FINAL|
|Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann||5|
|Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman||10||FINAL|
|Toronto - LP: S. Nolin||6|
|Minnesota - LP: S. Deduno||0||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez||6|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: S. Feldman||4||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: B. Arroyo||7|
|Cleveland - LP: J. Masterson||1||FINAL|
|Boston - WP: J. Lackey||8|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps||9||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: R. Hernandez||4|
|Pittsburgh - LP: A. Burnett||1||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: M. Estrada||2|
|Miami - LP: R. Webb||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: N. Jones||4|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Vargas||5||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: L. Hochevar||2|
|Oakland - WP: P. Neshek||6||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: J. Veras||5|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||2||FINAL|
|Arizona - WP: B. McCarthy||5|
|St. Louis - WP: L. Lynn||7||FINAL|
|Los Angeles - LP: C. Capuano||0|
|Texas - WP: J. Grimm||9||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: J. Saunders||5|
|Colorado - WP: T. Chatwood||5||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Lincecum||0|