Mercury wins its 16th consecutive game

  • Article by: AL BRAVO , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 30, 2014 - 1:04 AM

PHOENIX -- Facing a short-handed Los Angeles Sparks team playing for the second straight night, the Phoenix Mercury needed a half to get going before cruising to their 16th straight victory.

Diana Taurasi had 17 points and four assists as Phoenix beat Los Angeles 90-69 on Tuesday night, giving the Mercury the second-longest winning streak in league history. Phoenix (22-3) passed the Houston Comets' 15-game run in 1998 and moved two games shy of the WNBA mark of 18 straight by Los Angeles in 2001.

The Mercury also won their 11th straight at home, tying a franchise mark set in 1999.

Los Angeles played for the second consecutive game without leading scorer Candace Parker, who remained in California nursing a left knee strain. Despite her absence, the Sparks led by five in the first half and trailed by just three at the break.

"When their best player, you know that she's out, it's just a natural thing to take your foot off the pedal," Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. "I've seen it happen so much as a player, and obviously coaching experiences all around the world. So we didn't have the right energy coming out."

Candice Dupree had 16 points and nine rebounds while Brittney Griner added 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots for the Mercury. Taurasi and Griner both sat out the fourth quarter.

"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," Brondello said.

Nneka Ogwumike had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Sparks (12-15), who are now 2-3 since general manager Penny Toler took over as coach during the All-Star break. Los Angeles has lost four of six overall.

Kristi Tolliver added 14 points and seven assists for the Sparks, who kept it close for more than a half.
"Whenever a team comes in without their best player, other players pick up the slack and do a little bit more," Taurasi said. "They 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."

Phoenix used a third-quarter run to break open a three-point game at halftime. The Mercury scored 12 straight points, using its break and scoring twice off of steals, to take a 62-45 lead with 3:08 left in the period.

"The crowd got in it and we got a little rattled," Toler said. "When we got rattled, I think they might have outscored us 14-2, but like I told them, from that moment, as a team and as players you get better, come down, slow the ball down and let's execute. We didn't execute in that stretch."
Phoenix led 66-51 going into the fourth quarter and did not allow Los Angeles to get any closer than 11 points.

The Mercury, who lead the league in scoring and hold opponents to the fewest points, were 39.5 percent from the field while allowing Los Angeles to shoot 58 percent although Phoenix still led 42-39 at the break.

"It was a mess," Dupree said. "It was a mess on both ends of the floor. We lacked energy, missing shots, bad defense, wasn't pretty.

"It's just defense, being able to shut them down," she added. "They were killing us off the pick-and-roll. We kind of eliminated that in the second half. So when we are playing good defense, we are at our best, leads out to buckets in transition, moving the ball a lot better in the second half, just good-looking basketball."

Phoenix held Ogwumike to 2-of-9 shooting in the second half after she made 7-of-8 in the first half, scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds.

Reserve Shay Murphy added a second-half spark, scoring 10 points and getting three assists, mostly in the second half.

Los Angeles scored eight straight points in the first quarter to take a 24-20 lead. The Sparks held the league's best offensive team to 7-for-21 shooting. However, Taurasi and Murphy hit 3-pointers during a 10-0 run that gave Phoenix a 32-27 lead with 6:20 left in the first half.

Phoenix has beaten Los Angeles in its previous three meetings earlier this season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters