The last time the Lynx played in Phoenix, Minnesota's bench scored a season-high 42 points in a 96-90 victory.

That was Sept. 11 in the regular-season finale at US Airways Center.

Two of the WNBA's three highest-scoring teams will return there again Sunday afternoon for a much more high-stakes game. Phoenix, the league champion in 2007 and 2009, is in a must-win situation in the Western Conference finals.

The Lynx beat the Mercury 95-67 on Thursday at Target Center to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three playoff series.

Reserve guard Candice Wiggins scored 14 points, or half of the bench's 28 total. She made four of her seven three-point shots and played 27-plus minutes.

Coach Cheryl Reeve called Wiggins the Lynx's X-factor, and she was just as valuable on defense. The four-year veteran guarded Phoenix star Diana Taurasi at times, giving Seimone Augustus a break from that duty.

"Candice plays with that energy, and it is annoying," Reeve said. "It is fun to watch when she is on your side. She is pretty locked in right now with what she is doing. You have to have players come off the bench and be productive like Candice was."

In an oddity, the Lynx bench also had its season low of zero points in Phoenix this season. That came on Aug. 9, when the Mercury won 85-80, stopping the Lynx's nine-game winning streak.

Augustus in the flow Augustus said she tries to do whatever her team needs.

"In the San Antonio series, I had scored a little bit more," said the Lynx guard, who still managed a team-high 21 points Thursday. "This series, the scoring was like even."

Four of her teammates were also in double figures, partly because of Augustus' seven assists.

"I did not have to force anything," Augustus said. "I did not have to create a whole lot of stuff. It was just mainly the flow of our offense that made it so easy. You can come off a pick-and-roll and I can find Taj [McWilliams-Franklin], or hit Rebekkah [Brunson] for a jump shot or find Wiggins spotted up for the three. It just flowed very well."

Been there, done that Phoenix forward DeWanna Bonner said the Mercury has proven it can come back from a first-game loss in a short series.

"We kind of had the same thing happen to us at Seattle; we lost by 20-plus," Bonner said. "Hopefully, we can just come back and respond like we did. We just need to go home, prepare, get a little rest."

The defending league champion, Seattle beat the Mercury 80-61 in the first game of their conference semifinal series. Phoenix won the next two games, 92-83 and 77-75.

"We played hard basketball [Thursday], and that is not how we play," Bonner said. "Just getting our fast break going, hitting them on screens [are] easy ways to get our shots."

Bonner said defensively the Mercury need to focus on Augustus more.

"[She] hit some great shots," Bonner said. "We just need to limit her touches and try to take her out of the game when we are in Phoenix."

Etc. • McWilliams-Franklin, the Lynx's 40-year-old center, will tie former Los Angeles Sparks player Lisa Leslie for third all-time in playoff games played Sunday with 52.