The MVP campaign of Brittney Griner continued on Saturday as the Phoenix Mercury earned their eighth-straight win, defeating the Indiana Fever 87-65. Griner led all scorers with 22 points, her 13th 20-point game of the season, and also contributed five rebounds.
Despite trailing 44-40 at the half, the Mercury (17-10) used a 36-9 third quarter to rout the Fever. The Mercury made the final lead change of the game with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter on the back of a 3-point shot by Griner. After a 3-pointer by Jantel Lavender cut its lead to 58-53, Phoenix closed the quarter on an 18-0 run.
Kia Nurse and Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 14 points apiece while the Mercury bench scored 27. Diana Taurasi’s dismal performance was overshadowed by the Mercury’s win. Taurasi scored just two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
One highlight of the game was the return of Bria Hartley, who played eight minutes and scored three points. Hartley tore her ACL on Aug. 28 of last year.
The Mercury’s impressive performance in the third quarter really offset what was mostly an average performance. Outside of the third quarter, the Mercury shot 2-of-19 from beyond the arc and 35 percent from the floor while being outscored 56-51.
The Fever’s disappointing season continued as they fell to 6-20 on the season.
Lynx dominate Mystics
The Minnesota Lynx earned their fifth-straight win and moved into a third-place tie with a 93-75 victory over the Washington Mystics, who remain in the hunt for the eighth spot. Minnesota is now tied with Seattle, which has the tiebreaker.
The Lynx (18-9) opened up a 23-point lead in the second quarter and led by 15 at the half. Washington showed its grit, closed Minnesota’s lead to just two points and trailed by four going into the final quarter. The Lynx opened the quarter with a 15-0 run to increase their lead and see out the win.
Napheesa Collier scored a team-high 21 points and recorded a game-high nine rebounds. Aerial Powers came off the bench to play 24 minutes, her highest minute total since returning from her thumb injury. Powers scored a season-high 20 points. Rachel Banham tied her season-high in points with 13 while Kayla McBride added 15 points and four assists.
Sylvia Fowles scored 15 points, collected six rebounds and blocked three shots. Fowles has recorded three blocks in three of her last four games.
In a losing effort, Ariel Atkins scored 25 points, which marked her eighth 20-point game of the season. The Mystics fell to 10-17.
On Monday, the Mercury take their win streak on the road as they face the Fever again. On Tuesday, the Mystics look to stay in the playoff race with a game against the Storm. On Wednesday, the Lynx take on the Las Vegas Aces on ESPN2 in what could be a preview of a semifinal matchup.