Lynx get past Phoenix Mercury 118-107 in double overtime

After losing a 13-point lead with less than five minutes left in regulation, after blowing a five-point lead with two minutes left in the first overtime, the Lynx finally finished off their game with Phoenix at Target Center Tuesday with a 118-107 double-overtime victory.

The Lynx scored the first seven points of the second extra session, and this time they made that lead hold up.

Finally.

Despite ceding 21 offensive rebounds to the Mercury, despite allowing Phoenix to have a 23-4 edge on the fast break, the Lynx (9-15) won their third straight game and their sixth in eight games.

Aerial Powers scored a career-high 35 points to go with 13 rebounds (and nine turnovers). Rachel Banham came off the bench to score 25 points. Kayla McBride (17) and Sylvia Fowles (14 points, 14 rebounds) were also in double figures.

Sophie Cunningham scored a career-high 36 points for the Mercury (10-15), forcing the first overtime with a three. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 32 with 10 assists, forcing a second overtime with a buzzer-beating drive.

Both teams started the first quarter slowly, but the Lynx ended it in a rush.

Down 18-17 after a Diggins-Smith basket with 2:13 left in the quarter, the Lynx outscored the Mercury 9-3 over the rest of the quarter.

First McBride scored. Then Banham hit a three. After a Mercury turnover, Shepard scored and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but the Lynx got the rebound. Shepard again scored and drew the foul, making the free throw this time, putting the Lynx up 27-20 entering the second quarter.

Just 3½ minutes into the second quarter that lead was gone. The Lynx started the quarter 1-for-6. The Mercury, meanwhile, opened the quarter on a 9-2 run — begun and ended by threes by Cunningham — to tie the game with 6:37 left in the half and forcing a Lynx timeout.

The Lynx rebuilt their lead to 37-33 on a three-point play by Powers with 5:02 left.

But the Lynx were outscored 11-7, with the Mercury taking a one-point lead when Taurasi hit two of three free throws with 7.5 seconds left. But Powers hit an off-balance, buzzer beating three to put the Lynx up 47-45 at the half.

That lead was history less than two minutes into the third quarter. Phoenix started the second half on a 9-2 run to take a 54-49 lead on Taurasi’s three-pointer just 1:42 into the third quarter.

Out of a timeout, the Lynx responded.

Or, more specifically, Powers responded, scoring eight straight points, the last three on a three-pointer in a 7-0 run that put the Lynx back up 56-54.

That set the stage for a back-and-forth final few minutes of the quarter that saw four more lead changes.

Ultimately, Diggins-Smith hit two free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the quarter to put Phoenix up 68-67 entering the fourth. The Lynx allowed seven offensive rebounds and turned the ball over seven times in the quarter, which the Mercury turned into five second-chance points and six points off turnovers.

The Lynx were still down by two early in the fourth when, spurred by consecutive threes by Banham, they went on a 15-0 run to take a 13-point lead with 4:51 left in regulation.

And then they let Phoenix end the game on an 18-5 run to force overtime on Cunningham’s second-chance three-pointer with four seconds left.

In a back-and-forth first overtime, the Lynx again saw a three-point lead evaporate on Cunningham’s three with 5.6 seconds left. Kayla McBride was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both free throws with 2.1 seconds left. But Skylar Diggins-Smith was able to drive for a score at the buzzer, forcing a second overtime.

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