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Miller's 25 points help Lynx beat Mercury for third consecutive win

Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury Brittney Griner - Getty Images

PHOENIX -- — Diamond Miller battled foul trouble but finished with 25 points and five steals — both career highs — and Napheesa Collier added 16 points and nine rebounds to help Minnesota beat the Phoenix Mercury 86-76 Saturday night for the Lynx's third win in a row.

Rachel Banham scored a season-high 13 points in just 15 minutes for Minnesota.

Six different Lynx players scored in a 13-2 run that gave the Lynx a 76-63 lead with five minutes to play and Phoenix trailed by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 23 points, 15 in the first half, and Moriah Jefferson scored 14 with a season-high seven assists. Michaela Onyenwere, who fouled out early in the fourth quarter, and Sug Sutton added 10 points apiece and Brianna Turner grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds.

Minnesota (7-9) — which started the season with six consecutive losses — was coming off back-to-back wins over the Seattle Storm, the latter of which came when Collier made a short fadeaway jumper that gave the Lynx a 99-97 lead with 1.8 seconds left in overtime.

Miller, the No. 2 overall selection in April's draft out of Maryland, picked up her third personal when she fouled Moriah Jefferson, who hit the short jumper and made the and-1 free throw that trimmed the Mercury’s deficit to 34-31 with 3:43 left in the first half.

Tiffany Mitchell (wrist), Jessica Shepard (non-COVID illness) and Aerial Powers (ankle) did not play for the Lynx. Shepard leads the team in field-goal percentage (53.2%), rebounds (9.2 per game) and assists (4.4). Powers and Shepard each missed their seventh consecutive game, Mitchell sat out her third in a row.

Phoenix, which went into the game averaging a league-high 17.5 turnovers per game (no other team averages more than 16.0) committed 14 — which led to 15 Lynx points — in the first half and went into the break trailing 46-37. The Mercury finished with a season-high 22 turnovers, including 13 Minnesota steals.

Phoenix (3-12) has lost 12 of its first 15 games for the second time in franchise history, the first since 2003.

The Mercury lost six games in a row, and nine out of 10, before an 85-63 win over the Indiana Fever on Thursday in Nikki Blue’s second game as the interim head coach. Blue replaced to Vanessa Nygaard, who was fired Sunday, one day after a 97-74 road loss to the Seattle Storm, which dropped Phoenix to 2-12, matching the worst 14-game start to a season in franchise history. The Mercury lost 77-62 at home to the Dallas Wings on Tuesday in Blue's debut.