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Lynx 80, Mercury 75: The Roller Coaster Continues

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Diana Taurasi got ejected in the second quarter, and the Lynx held on late to beat the Mercury in Phoenix.

Minnesota Lynx v Phoenix Mercury - Game 3

Maya Moore dropped 38 on the Mercury, including the game clinching basket with five seconds to go, as the Lynx went on the road and beat Phoenix to move to 14-10 on the season.

It was a contentious, chippy game, as they often are when these teams meet. The Lynx looked to be in trouble with fouls early in the game, with Sylvia Fowles picking up two quick ones, and several other whistles going against them. But the tide shifted, and Maya Moore started getting to the line as the first quarter wore on. The Mercury were getting frustrated, and it boiled over in the second, when Diana Taurasi complained too much about a couple of calls, and two technicals later, was out of the game.

It was, from a neutral’s perspective, disappointing, since Taurasi was off to a terrific start, and a classic duel with Moore seemed to be brewing. In all honestly, it could have been handled better by the officials, but on the other hand, Taurasi has made a career out of trying to intimidate referees, and sometimes that’s going to come back to bite her, as it did tonight.

In the absence of Taurasi, Dewanna Bonner took over the scoring responsibilities for the Mercury, and had them within two at the half. But the Lynx came out firing in the second, with Moore and Seimone Augustus scoring on an array of floaters and jump shots, ultimately extending the Lynx lead to 15.

Bonner and Stephanie Talbot led a late charge for the Mercury that got them within one in the last minute of the game, before Danielle Robinson hit a monster jumper to push the lead to three, and then a huge offensive rebound by Erlana Larkins on the next possession led to Moore’s runner that sealed the win in the final seconds.

The Lynx did a fantastic job limiting Brittney Griner (10 points,) held the Mercury to under 40 percent shooting, and dominated the glass (37-27.) all of which were factors in the win. Their offense was up and down, and heavily reliant on Moore, as Fowles was never able to get into a rhythm, finishing with just four points in 20 minutes. Larkins stepped up to help on the boards, however, finishing with eight rebounds in 15 minutes, and was a real positive factor even though she didn’t score a point.

It was good to see them grind a tough one out on the road against a quality opponent, even if they did get a bit of help from the officials. The win moves them into a four way tie for 4th in the league, a half game behind the Mercury and the Atlanta Dream.

Next up is the New York Liberty at home on Wednesday, before the All-Star game in Minneapolis next weekend.