PHOENIX – Brittney Griner collected 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Phoenix Mercury defeated the defending league champion Minnesota Lynx 85-71 on Friday night in the opener of the best-of-three Western Conference finals.

Penny Taylor added 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Mercury, which built a 25-point lead in the third quarter. Minnesota reduced Phoenix’s lead to 10 in the fourth quarter but didn’t seriously threaten.

Game 2 is Sunday in Minneapolis.

Diana Taurasi added 17 points, six rebounds and five assists for Phoenix on a poor shooting night (5 of 15).

    Most Read Stories

Lindsay Whalen scored 25 points to lead the Lynx.

The Mercury limited Maya Moore, the league’s leading scorer and most valuable player, to nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

“We have been so consistently good on the defensive end all season long and that was the key for us,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said.