Mercury Win 16th Straight, Beat Sparks
With a 90-69 win over the Los Angeles Sparks at home Tuesday night, the Mercury extended its franchise-record win streak to 16-straight games while taking sole possession of the second-longest win streak in WNBA history.
Phoenix is now just two games shy of the league-record 18-game win streak by the 2001 Los Angeles Sparks.
In the first half, the Mercury couldn't quite find their rhythm on either end of the floor while allowing the Sparks (who were without leading scorer Candace Parker due to a knee strain) to score 24 points in the opening period. Phoenix put things together in the second half, outscoring the Sparks 24-12 in the third quarter and never looked back after that.
Diana Taurasi scored a team-high 17 points in just 26 minutes. Candice Dupree had 16 points and nine rebounds while Brittney Griner added 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Mercury's bench, however, played arguably their best collective basketball of the season.
"The bench is key," Brondello said regarding the 26 points scored by Mercury reserves. "It's a grueling season. We're playing every other day, basically. We need those legs. They were able to do things well for us. It's good to see them do that because we're going to need them all season long. We kept ourselves down for 20 minutes but we got going again, that's the main thing, as long as we can change it within the game."
With a 22-3 record, the Mercury has maintained the league's best record for a string of 41 consecutive days. They now have the second-best 25-game start in WNBA history and are just one win shy of tying a single-season franchise-record for victories (23) with nine games to go in the 2014 regular season.
"Whenever a team comes in without their best player, other players pick up the slack and do a little bit more,'' Taurasi added. "They [Los Angeles] showed what kind of team they are. They have a lot of heart and a lot of character, and they played really well for most of the game.''
The Mercury's 21-point win tonight is the club's 11th consecutive home win by 10 or more, the longest such streak in WNBA history. Phoenix next heads to Minnesota to face the Lynx on Thursday, July 31. The game will be televised on WNBA LiveAccess at 5 p.m.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The Mercury's entire bench. Scoring 26 points and being a major force on the defensive end, the Mercury's bench provided a much-needed boost especially in the third and fourth quarter.
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
12 - the number of points allowed in the third quarter by the Mercury. Phoenix came out in the second half with a much better energy and mentality to outscore the Sparks 24-12 in the period.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Congrats to the other half of our Phoenix basketball family @PhoenixMercury. 16 straight wins? Yeah, the Mercury rises this time of year.— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 30, 2014