Hammon scores 33, Silver Stars top Mercury 102-91
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Becky Hammon scored 33 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to a 102-91 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday.
Phoenix came within striking distance midway through the fourth before Hammon, who has been battling a nagging right shoulder injury all season, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to 14 points.
Moments later, Harmon hit another three to put the Silver Stars up 100-87 with 2:08 left, and the Mercury would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
San Antonio has won four of five and pulled within a half game of Western Conference-leading Minnesota.
Diana Taurasi finished with 27 points, five assists and went 11 of 11 from the free throw line for the Mercury. Candice Dupree had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix (10-7), which has lost three straight.
``I think we did some good things and we did some things that didn't help us,'' Taurasi said. ``San Antonio played really well, they executed, and they made a lot of plays throughout the game.''
The Silver Stars (11-5), who were without All-Star rookie forward Danielle Adams due to a sprained right toe, dished out 29 assists on 37 field goal attempts.
``I thought we really played well as a team today,'' Hammon said. ``Sophia (Young) did a great job finding open people. We did a great job of moving the ball around, and we shot better because of it. Its just a great team win.''
Harmon also finished with seven assists and went 7 for 10 from beyond the arc for the Silver Stars, who scored 32 points off 21 Phoenix turnovers.
The Silver Stars built an early 14-point lead in the first quarter, with Hammon scoring 13 points in the quarter.
But Taurasi, who was held scoreless for most of the first half, hit a few key baskets to ignite a 13-0 run late in the second quarter to trim a 14-point to one with 2:39 left in the half.
San Antonio's Scholanda Robinson hit a 3-pointer before Jia Perkins nailed a jumper at the buzzer to push the Silver Stars' lead to 48-42 at intermission.
``When you play Phoenix, the lead doesn't matter,'' Hammon said. ``You can't get ahead of this team and you can't get behind. I tell this team all the time, whenever you play Phoenix, if you're down 20 you're in the game, if you're up 20, they're still in the game. They always come back at you.''
Down 71-62 midway through the third, the Mercury pulled within one again with a 10-1 run capped off by a Taurasi pull-up jumper.
San Antonio came right back with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Hammon after a bad pass by Taurasi to give the Silver Stars a 78-70 lead going into the fourth.
``I was really pleased that we answered their runs,'' San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said. ``We got control of the game early, but you know they're going to come back. They're such a difficult team to guard, but I thought this was a more aggressive San Antonio team that (Phoenix) played today.''
Perkins finished with 14 points, while Danielle Robinson and Scholanda Robinson each added 11 points for the Silver Stars.
Taylor and Kara Braxton finished with 11 points apiece for the Mercury.