Lynx fall against Mercury as Bonner sets free throw record

Published 1:19 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

PHOENIX — DeWanna Bonner scored 15 points, setting the WNBA’s single-season free throw record with 59 straight, and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Minnesota Lynx 73-66 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.

Brittney Griner blocked Lindsay Whalen’s fastbreak layup with 1:20 remaining and raced down the court for a layup to put Phoenix up 70-66. The Mercury made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal it.

Marta Xargay Casademont added a career-high 15 points, all in the second half, for Phoenix (14-7). She was 6 of 7 from the field, making all three of her 3-pointers, to help Phoenix pull within one game of Western Conference leader Minnesota.

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“She gave us the spark that we needed, you know, making shots,” coach Sandy Brondello said. “And it was her night tonight. She really got us back into the game. Once we got that momentum, it came in our favor.”

Griner had 13 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, becoming the Mercury’s all-time blocks leader with 274. Griner recorded her third double-double in her last four games

Bonner made her first seven free throws to break Elena Delle Donne’s record set earlier this year. The Mercury All-Star’s string was snapped at the 1:19 mark of the third quarter after missing two free throws.

Maya Moore had 17 points and Sylvia Fowles added 11 for Minnesota (15-6), which lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Moore, who had her string of 11 straight games scoring 20 points or more end on Tuesday, did not attempt a shot in the first quarter and was held scoreless in the fourth. Her 37-minute scoring drought came to an end with a layup at the 8:06 mark of the second quarter. That basket came during Minnesota’s 10-0 run, spanning the first two quarters, to give Minnesota its first lead at 27-26.

Phoenix was held to 3-of-19 shooting (16 percent) in the second quarter, getting outscored 16-7, but trailed just 35-33 at halftime.

In the second half, Moore made three 3-pointers in the first 6 minutes to give Minnesota a 52-46 lead. But Xargay Casademont’s back-to-back baskets highlighted Phoenix’s 10-0 run, over the third and fourth quarters, to take a 64-56 lead.

“She was huge for us tonight,” Bonner said of Xargay Casademont. “She came in and gave us those points when we needed them.”

Griner set Phoenix’s career blocks record in just three seasons, passing Diana Taurasi. Griner’s record breaking block with 5:50 left in the third quarter led to Xargay Casademont’s second consecutive 3-pointer to pull within 46-44.

The home team has won the last nine games in the series.