The depleted Mercury couldn't touch Minnesota, which has three one-sided wins since its only loss.
A week ago, "trouble" brewed in Minnesota.
The Lynx lost their first game of the season at the hands of the Seattle Storm, and questions began to swirl. How would they respond? Could the Lynx be on the verge of a losing streak? Overblown, considering it was one game. But such is life as the defending WNBA champions.
Minnesota buried any lingering speculation Wednesday by defeating the Phoenix Mercury 96-80 -- the Lynx's third consecutive double-digit victory. Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus each scored a team-high 16 points, and Maya Moore scored 15.
"When you have six people in double figures, it says a lot," Augustus said. "We distributed the ball, and we were getting good looks."
Since June 17, the Lynx have outscored their three opponents by a combined 60 points, erasing any concern about whether they would return to their winning ways.
The Lynx shot 44.9 percent from the field Wednesday while holding Phoenix to 35 percent.
"It's funny. I thought we didn't play that well defensively tonight," coach Cheryl Reeve said. "The players think I'm nuts, but I tell them that we didn't do this or that although we held them to 35 percent."
Minnesota improved to 13-1 and extended its home winning streak to 14 games counting last season's playoffs. It also marked the second time in WNBA history that a team started 13-1. Previously, only the 1998 Houston Comets held that distinction.
The Mercury (3-9), which lost its third game to the Lynx this season, was without its three best players in Diana Taurasi, Candice Dupree and Penny Taylor. Still, Phoenix remained competitive through three quarters thanks to DeWanna Bonner. She scored 23 points, two points shy of a career high, and Samantha Prahalis scored 20 points for the Mercury.
"It's one of those things where Phoenix is depleted," Reeve said. "You would rather have Dupree and Taylor out there playing against us."
The Lynx led 51-45 at halftime after closing the second quarter on a 7-0 run capped by two Moore free throws. Four minutes into the third quarter, the Lynx began pulling away.
Moore, Brunson, Lindsay Whalen and Augustus each made baskets to give Minnesota a 15-point lead, its largest of the game, midway through the third quarter.
Bonner wouldn't let her team surrender just yet. She orchestrated a comeback for the Mercury, nailing a three-pointer that cut the deficit to six points with 26 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Her effort proved to be in vain as the Lynx lit up the scoreboard in the final quarter.
"We had to take care of the ball, stop them in transition and just get back to playing our game," Brunson said. "We played a little sloppy at periods but got it together at the end."
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Sam Houston St||77|
|Open Bible College||0||Postponed|
|Stephen F Austin||79|
|UC Santa Barbara||72|
|Kentucky||50||2nd Half 10:21|
|(16) Northern Ill||27|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|No Dakota State||63||FINAL|