PHOENIX (AP) Without their coach for three quarters, the San Antonio Silver Stars couldn't quite keep up with the high-scoring Phoenix Mercury.
Diana Taurasi scored 29 points and Cappie Pondexter added 19 to lead the Mercury to a 95-83 win over the Silver Stars on Thursday night.
Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes was ejected from the game with 48.3 seconds left in the first quarter after arguing with officials and getting two consecutive technical fouls.
"It's unheard of. I said the word 'why,''' Hughes said after the game. "Just for the absolute record I said 'why.' That's what I got thrown for. I have no other comment on that. I've never been ejected. I said the word 'why.' That's what got me thrown out. Period.''
The Mercury (17-7) used a 17-4 run in the third quarter to open up a 72-56 lead with 2:22 left in winning their fifth game in the last seven. San Antonio got within 82-77 with 4:40 remaining in the game, but Phoenix scored the next five points to secure the win.
Phoenix held WNBA-leading scorer Becky Hammon to seven points on 2-of-12 shooting. She came into the game averaging 20.7 points and had at least 20 points in six of her last seven games. Her only basket in the first three quarters was a last-second leaner at the end of the first half.
"A big part of what they do, having Becky being able to break defenses down, score, and get people involved,'' Taurasi said. "We were able to take one part of it away tonight. We didn't get caught in some of the things that she's really good at.''
Sophia Young scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Silver Stars, who have lost three of their last four. Ann Wauters added 12 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio (10-13), which shot just 6-for-27 from behind the 3-point line.
"We were very lucky they didn't shoot well tonight,'' Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. "They're a good 3-point shooting team so we tried to mix up the defense on them, show them a trap defense, then go zone, change up the game by going back and forth so they didn't know which shot to take.''
The two teams meet again Saturday in Texas.
"I'm sure they're frustrated about this game and ready to make it even,'' Pondexter said.