The Target Center crowd stood in applause as Mercury star Brittney Griner heard her name announced. And the crowd stayed standing as the 6-8 Griner backed down Lynx All-Star forward Napheesa Collier, before putting up an uncontested hook shot less than two minutes into the game.

Then the Lynx ran the show, messy as it may have been.

It wasn't another career night for Collier or Diamond Miller but the Lynx still handled the struggling Phoenix Mercury in a 75-64 victory. As tired as Cheryl Reeve said her team was Friday, the Lynx now find themselves with a five-game winning streak and a .500 record (9-9). They started the season with six straight losses.

The Mercury (3-14), who were without Diana Taurasi (rest), have lost nine of 10.

"I don't know the reason for a level of fatigue that we really hadn't seen," Reeve said. "... Overall, just a bit of a drag in terms of what we were doing. We weren't crisp."

Outside of the first 12 minutes, that is.

Reeve saw eight of her players make at least one shot by the 8:16 mark of the second quarter, at which point Griner had only produced the two points from her earlier field goal.

Griner's first appearance at Target Center since her return to the U.S. after being detained in a Russian prison went less than ideal, given the adjustments that Lynx 6-5 center Dorka Juhász made after she gave up 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting in their matchup last Saturday. Once the final buzzer sounded, Griner had scored 12 — well below her 19.8 points per game average that ranked fifth in the WNBA ahead of Friday's contest.

She was often denied easy touches in or around the key when guarded by Juhász, who finished with 10 rebounds, five points, four assists, two steals and a block.

"Whatever Dorka had, I'd like our team to have for Sunday's game," Reeve said.

Collier was not her normal self offensively, finishing with only 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting after having scored 20-plus points in nine of her previous 12 games.

"I felt my legs getting a little fatigued and it was an off night, for sure," Collier said. "But collectively, like we had five people in double digits."

Miller and Kayla McBride had 10 points apiece, but even Bridget Carleton and Nikolina Milic added 11 and 10, respectively: Neither entered the matchup with averages of more than six points per game.

"The bench, we always have confidence when we come on," Carleton said. "Obviously the starters play a lot of minutes for us and they're a really great group, but they need a rest at some point — especially today."

Michaela Onyenwere's 24-point performance on 9-of-18 shooting, which included three three-pointers, was among the Mercury's few bright spots. Onyenwere and Griner were Phoenix's only double-figure scorers, as the team merely shot 37.7% from the field and lost 19 turnovers.

"It feels weird to be disappointed in any way when you win, especially where we came from," Reeve said. "There's no asterisk next to the W. We're certainly not going to give it back. We're not that disappointed. So it was more of a — we know we didn't bring our best, we were happy to win the game and let's try to bounce back and be physically more ready to play in that game on Sunday."