Hot Start Gives Mercury 14th Win in a Row
Whoever thought the Mercury were as hot as they could get were severely mistaken.
Phoenix’s offense was at video game-like efficiency in the first half at L.A., where they set a new season-high with 61 points at the break. The sizzling start was too much for the Sparks to overcome and the Mercury ran away with their 14th consecutive win, 93-73.
Keep in mind that Phoenix’s offensive output came despite a 5-of-17 outing from Diana Taurasi. The seven-time All-Star was at her playmaking best, however, coming up with seven assists while her teammates took on the bulk of the scoring load.
DeWanna Bonner (22 points) led five Mercury players who scored in double-figures. Taurasi and Brittney Griner added 18 points each. Penny Taylor scored 12, and Candice Dupree logged a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Phoenix simply could not be stopped in the first quarter. They outscored the Sparks 36-19 while shooting a torrid 78 percent from the field. Bonner and Griner led the way in terms of efficiency, combining to shoot 15-of-18 from the field for the game.
Los Angeles made their run in the third quarter behind Nneka Ogwumike (23 points, eight rebounds). The Sparks cut the Mercury’s 25-point half-time lead to 12 with one minute remaining in the period.
Reserve guard Shay Murphy came up big in Phoenix’s close-out effort, scoring all eight of her points off the bench in the second half.
In the end, the same teamwork that gave the Mercury their initial lead helped seal the game for good. Phoenix assisted on six of its seven fourth-quarter baskets, finishing with a total of 24 assists on 35 field goals.
The Mercury will look to extend their franchise-record 14-game win streak when they host New York on Saturday.