Wright scores 32 to lead Lynx over MercuryJun 2, 2010 - 2:27 AM MINNEAPOLIS(AP) -- Injuries forced Minnesota Lynx rookie Monica Wright into a starting role for the first six games of her WNBA career. In game seven, she found coming off the bench to her liking.
On Tuesday night, Wright scored a career-best 32 points and the Lynx finally won a home game, beating the Phoenix Mercury 92-82.
"Obviously Monica prefers to come off the bench. That was her statement today," joked Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. "It's a start. It's one game and it felt really good. We wanted to send a message to Phoenix and to the rest of the league that we're OK and we're going to be there at the end."
Diana Taurasi had 21 to lead Phoenix (2-3), but the Mercury star also lost her cool and was hit with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for protesting contact near the basket. It was the second consecutive loss for the defending WNBA champions.
"That's every game for me, so I'm good," said Taurasi of the emotion. "That seems to be our story so far is playing a good half here and there, but that's not good enough. That's something we really need to clean up if we want to get anywhere this year."
Wright was 12 of 23 from the field and hit six 3-pointers for the Lynx (2-5), who had lost their first three home games. With Lynx star guard Seimone Augustus still out of the lineup after having abdominal surgery, there have been increased opportunities for Wright and veteran forward Rebekkah Brunson, who led Minnesota with 15 rebounds.
"They got offensive rebounds and put-backs and second shots. That kills you," said Mercury coach Corey Gaines. "Wright had a great game shooting and Brunson had a great game rebounding, and those second chance points really kill you."
Lynx guard Candice Wiggins made her debut for the season, scoring eight points, including two 3-pointers, in 15 minutes of play. She had been out for the previous five weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee, suffered over the winter while she was playing in Greece.
Penny Taylor added 15 for Phoenix, which made a late run to cut a double-digit Lynx lead to just 88-82 with 14.2 seconds left, but Lindsey Whalen hit four free throws after that to hold on.
Up by a pair at halftime, the Lynx broke out in the third quarter, going on a 15-4 run to lead by as many as 16.
"We were only up two at halftime and were expecting them to come out and try to make a run at it," said Wright. "But we continued to attack them, got into the bonus early and played phenomenal defense."
Minnesota, which had lost five in a row after winning its season opener at Tulsa, led 40-38 at halftime after Wright had 15 points in the first 20 minutes. Phoenix, which entered the game as the league's best three-point shooting team, hit 11 of 21 from beyond the arc.
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