“We’re excited about that,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We’re not a team that talks about records, but when it got to be nine we thought, `What the hell? Let’s embrace this thing and take our place in history.’ We’re happy to be the only team to start off 10-0.”
Whalen shot 11 for 14 from the floor and went 6 for 7 from the free-throw line.
Minnesota got its club-record 10th straight road win and 13th consecutive regular-season victory dating to last year.
DeWanna Bonner scored 18 points and Candice Dupree added 11 for the Mercury (2-6), who have lost five of six games without All-Star guard Diana Taurasi— out indefinitely with a strained left hip flexor.
“Whalen had a great game, a lot of open shots, putbacks, running the break, free throws,” Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. “I think the defense was pretty good. We held the team to 38 percent, and as a team they’re shooting in the high 50s. And I think they lead the league in scoring, and we held them under their average. … We got outrebounded by one, but we just couldn’t score.”
Phoenix had its lowest scoring total since a 77-55 loss to San Antonio on Aug. 28, 2008, the team’s first game after a monthlong hiatus for the Beijing Olympics.
Augustus returned after missing the previous two games with a strained right quad.
“It feels good,” she said. “It’s still giving me a little bit of trouble, but the more I play on it, the faster I’ll be able to get back into the flow of my game. … With (the Mercury) being so long on the inside, they were able to slow us down a little bit in the paint playing that zone, but overall I felt I was able to do what I needed to do.”
Whalen needed less than two minutes to score six points as the Lynx raced to an 11-4 lead.
The Mercury pulled within two at 14-12 on a 3-pointer by Alexis Gray-Lawson with 2:39 left in the first.
But Whalen scored another seven points as Minnesota outscored 16-5 over the next nearly 10 minutes to open a 30-17 lead and the Lynx never looked back.
Augustus’ 3-pointer with about 5 minutes remaining gave Minnesota a 74-51 lead, its largest of the game, and Phoenix got no closer than 18 again.