Friday night was the first glimpse of action for most of the Minnesota Lynx starting unit in a preseason match-up with the Phoenix Mercury at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
The primary figures for the Lynx played sparingly as evaluations continue for players on the roster bubble, but the Lynx did come away with a 72-64 win in the first round of the inaugural WNBA preseason tournament. Minnesota will face Chicago Sunday afternoon.
Tan White led the Lynx in scoring with 16 points, hitting 4 of 7 field goals and 8 of 8 free throws in 27 minutes of action. Seimone Augustus added 12 points, making 4 of 5 shots in her 14 minutes of floor time.
Phoenix was fronted by Candice Dupree, who drained 6 of 7 field goals to finish with 14 attempts. 2014 draft pick Maggie Lucas, who was claimed by the Mercury in the second round, followed with 13 points. Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor did not play in Friday's game as the focus hinges on finalizing the regular season roster. Phoenix will face Indiana Sunday morning in the precursor to the Minnesota/Chicago game.
Most statistics between the two teams were roughly even with one exception: free throws. The Lynx hit 24 of 35 free throws while the Mercury made 11 of 17.
Phoenix scored the first basket on a turnaround jumper from Brittney Griner, marking their only lead of the contest. Minnesota led by as much as 14, and their lead did not drop below six during the second half.
With the Lynx using this weekend to return rhythm to their starters, the rookies who are still competing to make the team were less prolific, but there were several noteworthy efforts. Damiris Dantas had eight points, four rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes. Tricia Liston, who needed a stronger audition after a minimal campaign last Monday, posted eight points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Sunday figures to be the last chance for the Lynx rookies to make an impression. Minnesota has to cut at least two more players before the regular season begins next Friday. Thus far, Dantas is the only player who appears to be safe.