MINNEAPOLIS - Penny Taylor continued her strong play with 26 points and Minnesota native Kelly Miller scored a season-high 16 points, as the Phoenix Mercury held off a late rally to beat the Lynx 95-79 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
Diana Taurasi returned from a two-game suspension to score 15 points and tied a career high with nine assists for Phoenix.
Tangela Smith added 12 points and Cappie Pondexter had 10 for the Mercury, who moved to 10-7 on the year.
The win keeps Phoenix a half game back of second-place San Antonio in the West after the Silver Stars downed Washington.
Seimone Augustus led the Lynx with 16 points, while Lindsey Harding added 12, Svetlana Abrosimova scored 11, and Kathrin Ress chipped in 10.
Eshaya Murphy scored all of her nine points in the fourth quarter as Minnesota fought back from a 28-point deficit with 7:43 to play to pull within single digits.
After Taylor’s 3-pointer gave the Mercury an 84-56 lead, the Lynx went on a 23-2 run to cut the lead to seven with 2:49 to play.
But Smith, who was traded to Phoenix in the offseason for Harding, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2007 draft, hit four free throws and came up with a big steal to seal the victory.
“You come off a West Coast trip and you’re fatigued,” said Minnesota coach Don Zierden, whose team shot just 33.8 percent from the field.
“I think it showed in our legs, I think it showed in our shooting.”
Phoenix has won six of its last seven games and four of its last five road contests.
The Mercury won for just the second time in their last nine trips to Minnesota.