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Mercury Runs Past Indiana in Opening Game of West Coast Swing

INDIANA FEVER AT PHOENIX MERCURY

WNBA | USAirways Center (Phoenix, Ariz.)

August 14, 2013

PHOENIX – Candice Dupree led four scorers in double figures Wednesday night to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 75-58 victory over the Indiana Fever.

Dupree shot 7 of 11 from the floor to lead Phoenix to its fourth straight victory and sweep the season series with the Fever for the first time since 2007. DeWanna Bonner added 15 points, Brittney Griner had 14 and Diana Taurasi pitched in 12.

The Mercury (13-11) shot 50 from the floor while limiting Indiana (11-12) to season-lows of 31 percent shooting and 58 points. The Fever dropped below the .500 mark as it began a West Coast stretch with three games in four days.

“I have to give Phoenix credit,” said Fever coach Lin Dunn. “They played harder on the defensive end, they used their length and they were balanced all over the court. Let’s not make the excuse that missing [Shavonte] Zellous was the reason we lost the game. We missed her 15 points and her energy, but they just beat us.”

Taurasi, the WNBA’s scoring leader, passed Lauren Jackson as the fifth-leading scorer in WNBA history. Tamika Catchings, the league’s fourth-leading career scorer, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds to pace Indiana.

After a pair of lead changes and seven ties through most of the first half, Phoenix blew the game open while forcing 14 first half turnovers, leading to 12 points.

Managing a 31-30 lead with 3:32 left in the half, Phoenix scored the final 11 points before intermission. A halftime conversation didn’t help the Fever, as the Mercury continued its run by building an 18-point lead, 54-36, midway through the third.

Sandwiched around halftime, the Mercury’s 23-6 run was too much. The Fever shot just 3-of-25 over a 13-minute stretch extending to the final seconds of the third quarter when the Fever drought ended with back-to-back 3-pointers by Jeanette Pohlen and Erin Phillips.

The Fever ended the game shooting 9-of-44 overall.

“Mentally,” added Dunn, “we looked like we just stepped off the plane. We just weren’t sharp. We didn’t bring our A game. We probably brought our C-minus game tonight, and you can’t beat good teams on the road when you don’t play better than that.”

Phillips, making her second straight start due to the absence of Shavonte Zellous (plantar fasciitis), finished with 14 points for the Fever. Zellous, the league’s most improved scorer (15.0 per game), remains listed as day-to-day and is the ninth Fever player to miss time due to injury this season.

The Fever continues its West Coast road trip at Los Angeles on Friday (11:00 p.m. ET), and at Seattle, Saturday (10:00 p.m. ET) in its first back-to-back games of the season.