Lynx roll to 20-point victory over Griner, Mercury

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2013 - 6:33 AM

Minnesota started fast and stood strong against rookie Brittney Griner, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's WNBA draft.

view larger photos

  

 

The focus, inevitably, was on Brittney Griner, the 6-8 rookie center for the Phoenix Mercury who has been anointed as the WNBA’s Next Big Thing.

Apparently nobody told Amber Harris. And, perhaps, the Lynx has not been informed that the Mercury was the preseason league favorite. Or, maybe, that’s all they’ve heard.

For whatever reason the Lynx (2-0) hit the Target Center court Thursday at 100 miles per hour in a 99-79 victory over Phoenix (0-3) that wasn’t as close as the final score might indicate. It was a one-sided, to-the-woodshed victory in which just about everything the Lynx did, they did well.

And it started with Harris.

The team’s backup center had a career night. She played 30 minutes, mostly against Griner, mostly getting the better of the Mercury rookie. Harris pulled Griner to the perimeter on offense, scoring a career-best 18 points to go with six rebounds, three assists and three blocks — two of Griner shots.

“She was the key to the game,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Early on I told her, I don’t want her to go just straight up. I want her to go compete, go block her shot. She had a nice one in front of our bench, and she kind of looked at me [as if to say], ‘Like that?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, just like that.’ ”

Harris is in her third season. She entered training camp confident after a strong winter overseas. She has been given more minutes with Taj McWilliams-Franklin retired, and she has taken advantage of it.

“I just went out and played hard,” Harris said. “It feels good to finally get out there and contribute, help my teammates.”

Griner had 16 points and five rebounds. But she didn’t get a block, misfired on a dunk attempt and had a late dunk attempt broken up by Janel McCarville on a hard foul that McCarville actually got the worst of, taking a nasty hit to the face.

“We weren’t having it,” said McCarville, who had four points, four rebounds and three assists. “I got a busted face. My lip’s a little jacked. But it was worth it.’’

While Harris and McCarville were winning their battles, the Lynx were taking care of business everywhere else. Maya Moore had another strong start, scoring 19 of her 22 points in the first half. Seimone Augustus had 19 points, Monica Wright 11. Lindsay Whalen had 10 assists.

The Lynx offense was absurdly efficient. The team tied franchise records for most assists (30, on 36 field goals made) and for fewest turnovers (six).

“It’s so fun to play like that,” Moore said. “It builds everybody up.”

And it started early. The Lynx finished the first quarter on a 20-7 run to lead 32-16. That lead was at 27 by halftime and grew to 35 early in the third quarter. After that Reeve started clearing the bench.

“We have been embracing the notion that when you play hard great things happen to you,” Reeve said. “Tonight was a product of that.’’

The message was different down the hall. The Mercury had a postgame meeting that ran more than 40 minutes past the game’s end. After the doors finally opened, guard Alexis Hornbuckle called her team’s effort embarrassing, and star guard Diana Taurasi (21 points) didn’t disagree. “There is a laundry list of things we need to figure out,” she said. “We will get better.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close