MINNEAPOLIS - Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore scored 20 points apiece and Seimone Augustus added 18 to lead the Minnesota Lynx to an 85-62 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.
Diana Taurasi scored 15 and Brittney Griner had 13 points and six rebounds for the Mercury, who now face a must-win situation in Game 2 in Phoenix on Sunday.
Both teams started out cold on, but Minnesota recovered quickly and turned the first half into a mismatch. After hitting just one of their first six field goal attempts, the Lynx made 16 of their next 23 shots, while Phoenix was just 9 for 37 (24.3 percent) for the half.
Whalen, a first-team all-WNBA pick, scored just 13 points in Minnesota's two-game sweep of Seattle in the conference semifinals. The changed Thursday when she hit her first five shots and finished the first half 7 for 10 for 14 points, one of three Lynx in double figures before halftime. She finished the game with six rebounds and five assists - team highs in both categories.
Minnesota has won all six meetings with the Mercury this season, but they hadn't played since July 24. The Mercury went 9-4 down the stretch after naming Russ Pennell their interim head coach.
The Mercury advanced to the conference finals by upsetting second-seeded Los Angeles, winning both road games in their best-of-three semifinal series. But they quickly discovered that the Lynx were going to be a tougher out.
Minnesota's 12-2 playoff record at Target Center is the best postseason home-court advantage in WNBA history, and the Lynx swept Phoenix in the conference finals en route to winning the 2011 league title.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Click on the region names in the map below to see news from that region.
Things To Do
INSIDE: View our list of events happening this week around the Valley.
RIGHT NOW: Top Stories
A man and woman have been arrested in a series of shoplifting incidents involving baby formula at Scottsdale-area grocery stores since May.
Plan for warmer temperatures today and in to the weekend. Find out just how warm we will get this weekend.
Firefighters have controlled a two-alarm structure fire in Buckeye that started Wednesday morning.
Police in South Africa say retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu's home was robbed while he was away to attend a memorial honoring Nelson Mandela.
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is known as a humble man, a capable administrator and -- as expected of a new Pope -- a man of great faith.
1 man is dead after a double shooting at a Chandler apartment complex Tuesday night.