Napheesa Collier produced her third straight double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 16 rebounds as the Minnesota Lynx punched their ticket to the WNBA playoffs with an 86-73 victory over the Phoenix Mercury Sunday in Minneapolis.
Kayla McBride led all Minnesota scorers with 23 points and Dorka Juhasz chipped in 10 to help carry the Lynx (19-19) to their second consecutive win and the franchise's 14th postseason appearance.
The Mercury (9-28) dropped their eighth consecutive game in a season to forget despite a game-high 32 points from Moriah Jefferson, who scored 16 in each half. Brittany Griner added 17 points.
Tied 41-41 at halftime, the Lynx dominated the second half. Collier's layup at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter gave Minnesota the lead for good at 43-41. McBride's jumper with 4:50 to play put the Lynx on top by double digits (56-46) for the first time.
Shaking off a slow start, it appeared as if Minnesota had settled in on fan appreciation night, leading 18-12 with 1:17 to play in the opening quarter after Rachel Banham's shot from distance.
The Mercury answered with a 14-0 run that spanned the final minute of the opening period and first minute and a half of the second and was fueled, in part, by a 3-pointer from Kadi Sissoko and a pull-up jumper from Jefferson as Phoenix surged ahead 26-18.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Bridget Carleton and Tiffany Mitchell pulled the Lynx even at 31-31 with 2:49 remaining before a long distance shot by Aerial Powers nudged Minnesota ahead 34-33.
Banham's second 3-ball of the half and ensuing free throw gave Minnesota a 41-39 edge with under a minute left. Sug Sutton's jumper tied the game going into halftime.
There was added energy inside the Target Center prior to tip-off as Collier was presented with the first ever Sylvia Fowles Altruism Award, which recognizes a Lynx player that best embodies altruistic traits of kindness, selflessness and overall regard for the well-being of others in the community.
—Field Level Media