The Lynx were 0-3 at home and had lost five games in a row overall.

So what better time to play Phoenix, the defending WNBA champion, right?

Monica Wright scorched the Mercury from the outside and Rebekkah Brunson punished it on the inside as the Lynx beat Phoenix 92-82 on Tuesday night before an announced crowd of 6,854 at Target Center.

Wright, the rookie guard from Virginia, scored 32 points, sinking six of 10 three-point attempts. Brunson, a 6-3 veteran forward, had 16 points and 15 rebounds, including six offensive.

"It's a start," Lynx first-year coach Cheryl Reeve said, "and it was fun to do it on national TV [ESPN2]. When you have a five-game losing streak, you forget the fun part of [basketball]."

Lost a bit in the victory was the season debut of guard Candice Wiggins, who had arthroscopic knee surgery five weeks ago. Wiggins had eight points, two steals and made two threes in 15 1/2 minutes.

Reeve said Wright needed to dig herself out of her shooting slump, so she tried a different strategy with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, using her off the bench for the first time.

And Wright's shots started falling as soon as she got on the floor. She had 15 points in the first half, which ended with the Lynx (2-5) ahead 40-38. Her final total of 32 was a Lynx record for a reserve.

Wright was averaging 11.5 points per game, and her previous high was 19. Not bad numbers, except that her shooting percentage (.309) was the lowest among the starters.

"My stomach is still in knots," said Wright, who made 12 of 23 shots in just over 26 minutes. "I just feel when it's on, it's on. I wanted to capitalize off that especially when it is hitting like it was."

"Monica Wright prefers to come in off the bench," Reeve said. "That's the statement she made to her coach. Monica was really struggling on both ends of the court, on offense and defense."

All five starters scored in double figures for Phoenix (2-3), and Diana Taurasi had a team-high 21, but the Mercury could not keep pace.

"We just tried to stay the course and not get divided," Reeve said. "It was a group that was working really hard. Practice wasn't being carried over to games. But young players have short memories."

Wright being the prime example.

"We have so many games, you can't get too high or too low," said Wright, who was 1-for-5 and scored a season-low five points Saturday in a home loss to Chicago. "You have to be able to forget about the last game and move on to the next one.

"I just wanted to come in and be a spark for my team. We started the game great."

Wiggins was also a spark.

"Adding Candice, you can't overestimate that," Reeve said. "It gives us a different look at the 1. You have to guard her."

During pregame warmups, Wiggins said: "There are no words to describe the kind of exhilarating joy I feel right now to be able to put the uniform on again and to be able to compete."