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Mercury beat 1st-place Lynx, win 5th straight

The Phoenix Mercury were able to win a close game in beating the Minnesota Lynx 73-66. The Mercury got a spark off their bench from Marta Xargay, who had 15 points in 19 minutes.

Phoenix Mercury Photos

The Minnesota Lynx continued their road trip Friday night against the Phoenix Mercury. The Lynx were looking to redeem themselves after a 22-point loss to the Los Angeles Sparks two nights before.

Phoenix, who has been 4-0 since the All-Star break, got off to a great start as a layup by Candice Dupree and a big three-pointer by Leilani Mitchell put them up 5-0 to start the game.

Minnesota's Rebekkah Brunson would follow-up with two of her own, and from there the teams would trade shots, as Phoenix had the slight edge going into the first official timeout up 12-8.

The Lynx went scoreless for the next two minutes, before taking a much needed full timeout of their own. They came out shooting well after the timeout including a layup at the buzzer by Anna Cruz, but it was not enough to hold Phoenix off, as they ended the first quarter down 19-26.

Early on, this was not the same Mercury team that struggled against the Shock. They were moving the ball well, getting back on defense a lot faster, and kept Maya Moore scoreless.

But, that was the first quarter.

The Mercury were not so sharp in quarter number two, which started off with a jump ball resulting in Lynx forward Devereux Peters getting a quick score, followed by another Cruz layup, starting the quarter where she left off.

Moore's first points of the game would come shortly after to put Minnesota up by one at 26-25.

After a 10-0 run by the Lynx, the lead went back and forth on every other possession. A once dominant Mercury team, now seemed confused, and off balance.

Phoenix's only saving grace would be their defense including two huge blocks by Griner, who finished the night with a double-double 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks. It was a low scoring quarter with Minnesota leading 16-7 to put them on top, 35-33 at the half.

Mercury forward Monique Currie tied it at 35 to start the second half, answered quickly by the Lynx's Sylvia Fowles to take back the lead.

It was a battle of the Spanish after Phoenix took a full timeout. Cruz made both of her shots from the line, as Mercury guard Marta Xargay made two back to back three-point shots to put her team in it by two at 46-44.

Xargay would be the star of the second half -and arguably of the game- coming up big off the bench for the Mercury scoring 10 of her 15 points of the night in the third quarter.

Back and forth was still the name of the game, while the lead was ever changing, as Moore, who had 17 for the night, and Peters would keep their team alive with a slim two-point lead.

DeWanna Bonner and Noelle Quinn would swiftly put an end to that with two big field goals of their own in the last 43 seconds of the quarter, to send them into the final quarter up 58-56.

The Mercury's secret weapon Xargay came out hot in the fourth quarter, putting the first points on the board, with a 19-foot jumper and a 23-foot three-pointer assisted by Dupree.

The teams would split four baskets for approximately the next three and a half minutes, with the Mercury still in the lead at 66-62.

Following a 20-second Lynx timeout, it was a block party.

Brunson blocked a 5-foot jumper by Currie, but Griner, who passed Diana Taurasi for most blocks in Mercury team history, responded with a tremendous play of her own, denying Lindsay Whalen a layup, and coming back with layup of her own at the other end.

It was 70-66, and Minnesota would not score again for the rest of the game.

Bonner and Quinn would finish the game 3-4 from the line to give Phoenix the win at 73-66.

Both teams play again Sunday, Aug. 9.