Lynx build big lead, pummel Mercury

Napheesa Collier posted racked up 14 points and 11 rebounds, and the Minnesota Lynx cruised to a 95-71 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night in Minneapolis.

Rookie Alissa Pili finished with a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including hitting all four of her 3-pointers, for Minnesota (5-2). Dorka Juhasz finished with 13 points and Cecilia Zandalasini chipped in 12 as the Lynx bounced back from a loss against the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday.

Kahleah Copper scored 21 points to lead the Mercury (3-5). Diana Taurasi finished with 14 points but made only 3 of 10 shots from the field, and Sophie Cunningham scored 13.

Minnesota shot 49.3 percent (36 of 73) overall and 40 percent (14 of 35) from beyond the arc. Phoenix shot 38.7 percent (24 of 62) from the field and 32.1 percent (9 of 28) from 3-point range.

Pili earned loud cheers from the bench for her breakout performance. Minnesota’s first-round pick out of Utah buried a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter. She scored 12 points in the period.

The Lynx led 72-49 at the end of the third quarter.

Collier helped Minnesota close the quarter on a 6-0 run. She made two free throws and a layup, and Juhasz added a pair of free throws.

Minnesota jumped to a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The score was even at 8-8 before the Lynx finished the quarter on a 13-4 run. It started with nine straight points from the Lynx thanks to a basket by Alanna Smith, a 3-pointer by Courtney Williams, a jump shot by Williams and a layup by Smith.

By halftime, the Lynx increased their advantage to 55-31.

Minnesota went on an 8-0 run late in the half with a 3-pointer by Williams, a layup by Collier and a 3-pointer by Bridget Carleton. That made it 55-26 with 1:12 left.

Copper scored the final five points of the first half to chip into the Mercury’s deficit. She made two free throws with 44.5 seconds to go and hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.

–Field Level Media