SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 9 (AP) -- Diana Taurasi had 26 points, eight assists and six rebounds to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 74-70 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Saturday night.
Taurasi made five 3-pointers, with the last one putting the Mercury ahead 72-64 with 2:08 left.
The Monarchs came back to cut it to 72-70. Chelsea Newton committed a costly turnover with under a minute to play and on Sacramento's next possession she missed a shot from close range in traffic, a shot that would have tied it.
Kelly Miller secured the rebound and made two free throws with 0.8 seconds left. Cappie Pondexter scored 16 points, and Penny Taylor had 15 and seven rebounds for Phoenix, which has won two straight and defeated Sacramento in both meetings this season.
The loss snapped the Monarchs' three-game winning streak. All three games were at home and followed a one-point loss in Phoenix on May 29 when the Mercury rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat first-place Sacramento (5-3).
Replacing injured DeMya Walker in the starting lineup, Rebekkah Brunson has become Sacramento's best offensive weapon. The four-year veteran had her third straight solid game, finishing with 17 and a career-high 17 rebounds. Nicole Powell scored 10 points for Sacramento, which shot 35 percent and committed 24 turnovers.
Sluggish for most of the game against the Mercury's aggressive zone defense, the Monarchs finally got it going in the fourth quarter. It was Brunson hustling inside for several put backs as Sacramento ran off a 10-2 run, cutting Phoenix's lead to two at 61-59 with 5:31 remaining.
But Phoenix responded with six straight points, half of them on Pondexter 3-pointer to take a 67-59 lead with 3:09 left. The Monarchs cut the lead again to a mere basket, but never had the lead in the second half.
The game matched the WNBA's most dangerous offensive team in Phoenix, against the Monarchs, known as one of the league's top defensive teams. Taurasi scored 14 points, all in the first quarter, to help Phoenix take a 40-33 halftime lead. Taurasi got going again in the third quarter, scoring eight points as the Mercury took a 57-49 lead.