The Lynx played tough defense to dominate the Phoenix Mercury Saturday night at Target Center, coming away with a 71-56 victory and spoiling the return of Mercury star Brittney Griner from a seven-game suspension for domestic violence.
Griner scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds, but most of her scoring came late in the game. She was virtually shut down early on and attempted only four shots in the first three quarters, the Associated Press reports.
Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen each scored 21 points to lead the Lynx (7-2). Rebekka Brunson added 14 points, along with 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, according to the Lynx.
The Lynx defense had 10 blocks in all and forced the Mercury into 20 turnovers. Phoenix shot just 24 percent in the first half and fell behind by 14 at the break.
Griner got her swagger back in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points to help Phoenix narrow an 18-point deficit to just seven with two minutes left in the game.
But Brunson scored a free throw and Moore hit a reverse layup to put the game out of reach. It was the second straight loss for Phoenix.
The Lynx lost to the Mercury in the Western Conference finals last season, which ended Minnesota's run of three straight trips to the WNBA Finals. The Mercury went on to win the WNBA championship.
Griner missed the first seven games of the season while under suspension for an altercation she had with then-fiancee Glory Johnson in April. The two were married a few weeks after the incident, but Griner then filed for an annulment, the AP notes.
One of the newest members of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Apple Valley native Tyus Jones, was in attendance at the game.