SAN ANTONIO — Diana Taurasi refused to give in when the Phoenix Mercury were at a low point.
The veteran guard was still playing despite picking up three quick fouls, and 13 seconds proved more than enough time to right the team’s fortunes against the San Antonio Stars.
Candice Dupree had 26 points, Brittney Griner added 16 points and 18 rebounds and Phoenix rallied for a 91-79 victory in double overtime against San Antonio on Saturday night.
Taurasi had 19 points and seven assists for Phoenix (5-2), scoring nine points after picking up her fifth foul with 6 minutes remaining in regulation.
"You got six, so when I get five I’m really not that worried, you’ve just got to keep playing," Taurasi said.
DeWanna Bonner and Taurasi each hit a 3-pointer for Phoenix in the final 13 seconds of regulation to force overtime.
"Sometimes there’s a little bit of luck involved," Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. "DeWanna hadn’t made a 3 the whole game, but I had no hesitation going to her because I know she’s capable of doing that. They just made big plays."
After Taurasi tied the game at 71 with 9.4 seconds remaining, Stars guard Kayla McBride missed a driving layup as time expired.
McBride finished the game 3 for 17 from the field.
Danielle Robinson had 17 points, Sophia Young-Malcolm added 12 points and Jia Perkins had 11 for San Antonio (4-5).
The air conditioning was working at the AT&T Center, unlike Game 1 of the NBA Finals. An electrical failure caused temperatures to soar into the 90s on Thursday night, leading Miami Heat star LeBron James to suffer leg cramps that kept him out of the final 4 minutes of San Antonio’s 110-95 victory.
The possibility of another mechanical breakdown didn’t worry Brondello, who was the Stars head coach in 2010 after five seasons as an assistant.
"Not at all, I’ve lived here for six years — I like the humidity so I can handle that, not a problem," she said. "Being from Australia, that’s not something we’re not used to. (Plus) we’re from Phoenix, we like the heat."
With crisp temperatures in the 70s, the Stars only had to worry about the Mercury’s hot shooting.
Phoenix outscored San Antonio 14-2 in the second overtime to seal the victory.
"Just got some turnovers off them," Bonner said. "We kind of got some easy baskets and got going. We got in the middle of that zone a little bit and hit some big shots."
Phoenix opened the second half on a 13-0 run for a 47-33 lead with 5 minutes remaining in the third. The Mercury took advantage of the Stars’ 0-for-7 shooting, pushing the pace to score the first three baskets of the run in the run in the paint.
San Antonio’s first points in the second half came 5 minutes into the third on a technical free throw by Robinson off a defensive three-second call.
"We just didn’t shoot well," Stars guard Becky Hammon said. "We shot terrible all game. It wasn’t just fatigue. The ball just wasn’t going in the hole tonight. It happens."
Robinson reached 1,000 career points in the third quarter.
Taurasi was limited to a 3-pointer and an assist in the third, but her direction of the team’s offensive sets helped her teammates get open looks.
Young-Malcolm scored seven straight points off Hammon’s feeds to pull the Stars within 53-47 entering the fourth.
San Antonio outscored Phoenix 24-18 in the fourth, but the Mercury’s final six points were critical.
"Their effort was good," Stars coach Dan Hughes said. "Their play wasn’t always crisp, and offensively we really struggled."