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Despite slow start, Lynx cruise past Mercury

Minnesota's 32-16 advantage in points off the bench proved key in countering Skylar Diggins-Smith's game-high 25 points

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Behind a 48-31 second-half edge, the Minnesota Lynx snapped a five-game losing skid with a 84-71 win over the host Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday.

Minnesota (4-13) trailed by 11 points after one quarter and did not lead until midway through the third quarter. After the visitors briefly fell behind again, Kayla McBride sank a 3-pointer with 3:41 remaining in the third period, putting the Lynx up 54-53, and Minnesota dominated the rest of the way.

Minnesota pushed its advantage to as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter, answering every time the Mercury threatened to rally.

Bridget Carleton made a pair of 3-pointers less than a minute apart to power a 12-0 run that effectively sealed the win, just the Lynx's second in the last nine outings.

MORE MINNESOTA LYNX COVERAGE:
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To their credit, the Lynx (6-15), who were coming off a 92-64 win over Dallas, made a game of it, but the Aces (15-5) had an answer for every push the Lynx could come up with
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Moriah Jefferson's triple-double leads Minnesota with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists
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Kayla McBride and Jessica Shepard each scored 15 points for Minnesota, which also got 12 from Sylvia Fowles, 11 from Moriah Jefferson and 10 points from Natalie Achonwa.
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Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles -- recently named a starter and a co-captain for the upcoming WNBA All-Star Game -- played for the first time since June 7
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Leading 93-91 with 16 seconds to play, forward Dearica Hamby knocked down a corner 3-pointer for the Aces (13-2) to stave off a pesky effort from Minnesota (3-13)
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Minnesota (3-12) gave itself a chance to snap its three-game losing skid with stifling defense down the stretch, holding Seattle to just five points for the final 5:07 of action
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Washington also held the Lynx (3-10) to just 32.8 percent shooting, including 6-of-21 from beyond the arc.
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Fowles, 36, playing her 15th and final WNBA season, is averaging 16.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in 12 games for the Lynx.
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The Lynx (3-9) had beaten the Liberty 84-78 on May 24 at Target Center and 84-77 this past Sunday in Brooklyn despite 31 points from Ionescu.
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But through 10 games, the wing has entrenched herself as a cog in the Lynx’s machine through her production and versatility.

McBride led the Lynx with 18 points and five steals. Moriah Jefferson scored 12 points and dished out nine assists in the win, with Natalie Achonwa's 12 points leading four Minnesota reserves who scored at least six points.

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Carleton's two clutch 3-pointers accounted for all six of her points, Jessica Shepard added six points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds, and Rachel Banham finished with eight points.

Minnesota's 32-16 advantage in points off the bench proved key in countering Skylar Diggins-Smith's game-high 25 points, which included 3-of-5 shooting from 3-point range.

Diana Taurasi also knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 15 points for the Mercury, but she missed seven long-range attempts. Shey Peddy shot 3 of 8 from beyond the arc and finished with 12 points off the bench as Phoenix took its third loss in four games.

Tina Charles struggled to seven points on just 2-of-8 shooting from the floor -- part of a collective 39.7 percent night for Phoenix -- but among her team-high seven rebounds was the 3,500th of her career.

Only Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles, who missed Tuesday's game with a knee injury, reached that rebounding milestone previously in WNBA history. Fowles currently has 3,836 rebounds.

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