Rookie Alissa Pili breaks out in Lynx’s 95-71 rout of Phoenix

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The Minnesota Lynx bounced back nicely for part of Friday.

Mixing success inside and outside the arc, often open shots set up by strong ball movement, and the most productive game of the season from non-starters, the Lynx opened up a 29-point first-half lead, overcame a third-quarter lull and beat Phoenix 95-71 in Target Center.

It was a balanced offensive attack.

Per usual, Napheesa Collier had another double-double this time with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and fellow starter Courtney Williams had 11 points and five assists.

But this one was about the Lynx bench production. Minnesota’s reserves outscored the starters by five points.

Alissa Pili scored 20 points to lead the non-starters, Dorka Juhász added 13, and Cecilia Zandalasini netted a dozen.

Beginning the night leading the league by shooting 45.4% from field, including 37.8% from deep, the Lynx (5-2) finished 49.3% and 40%, respectively. Minnesota shot a season-low 36.9% in Wednesday’s 14-point loss to Las Vegas.

Six players made 3-point shots, led by four from Pili and three from Williams. Collier, Zandalasini and Alanna Smith had two apiece.

“Coming off a loss it was about being aggressive. We needed to bounce back,” Juhász said in an in-arena interview. “This one was personal.”

Minnesota had a season-high 29 assists, including 19 on its 23 first-half made shots. Its previous high for a game was 27 in a double-overtime game two weeks ago.

The Lynx shot 70% in the second quarter, making five of seven shots from deep while outscoring Phoenix 34-19 for a 55-31 lead at intermission.

Minnesota’s bench scored the first 23 points of the quarter. The Lynx reserves outscored their Phoenix counterparts 50-10.

Seeing her first action in three games, Pili, the eighth overall pick in the April draft, had eight points in the rush, including a putback of her own miss and a straight-on 3-pointer that brought many of the 7,035 in attendance to their feet.

Zandalasini swished home a trey and a pair of long jumpers, and Juhász added six points. Nine Lynx players had at least three points in the first half.

Defensive rebounding issues by the Lynx gave Phoenix life in the third quarter — the Mercury had eight of their 10 offensive rebounds after just two in the first half — but the Mercury could only get within 15 points.

Kahleah Copper led Phoenix (3-5) with 21 points. The Mercury got 14 from 19-year veteran Diana Taurasi. Before the game, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve called Taurasi the “Tom Brady of the WNBA.”

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