WNBA

Taurasi, Dupree lead Mercury past Atlanta 79-71

Share This Story

   
 

ATLANTA (AP)

Diana Taurasi wanted the Phoenix Mercury to show the kind of intensity they'll need in the playoffs.

''It's not necessarily the best team over the summer, but the team that gets hot at the right time,'' she said. ''Today was a little step for us to go forward.''

Taurasi scored 25 points, Candice Dupree added 15 and the Phoenix Mercury won their third straight game with a 79-71 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.

Angel McCoughtry finished with 25 points and Erika de Souza had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Dream (17-14). The loss ended Atlanta's three-game winning streak.

Phoenix (17-13) never trailed after Taurasi's layup midway through the first quarter.

''I think sometimes she gets in the mode where she's not looking for her shot, and so we've tried to encourage her,'' Mercury coach Russ Pennell said. ''We want her to be a little more aggressive offensively, and I think she did that tonight.''

Tiffany Hayes, who scored 19 points off the bench for Atlanta, cut the lead to 74-67 with a 3-pointer. But in the last 3 minutes, she had a turnover and missed two layups and two 3s.

McCoughtry, the WNBA's leading scorer, hit a free throw to cut the lead to 74-71, but she missed a 3 and a 20-footer before fouling out with 25.8 seconds to go.

McCoughtry was just 8 for 21 from the field. Dream starter Jasmine Thomas went 3 for 13.

Rookie Alex Bentley, who earlier this year broke Taurasi's 2006 WNBA record by hitting 10 consecutive 3s over the course of five games, went 0 for 6 from the field and never got in position to attempt a 3.

''Looking at the stat sheet, we had 78 shots and 25 made,'' Dream coach Fred Williams said. ''Usually you get more of those made, but Phoenix did a good job of pick and roll plays, and with their transition game getting us on the back side.''

Centers Brittney Griner and de Souza tangled at the 6:46 mark of the third and had to be separated by officials and teammates.

Griner was assessed a technical foul, but Atlanta failed to cut the lead to single digits when McCoughtry missed the ensuing free throw and Armintie Herrington threw the ball away to end the Dream's possession.

''It was just the heat of the game,'' Griner said. ''It's over.''

Over the next 2 minutes, Griner hit an 8-foot hook shot, Taurasi hit two jumpers and Bonner scored a 3-pointer that made it 59-42.

Griner finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

''We were on fire and whoever had the hot hand, we went to them,'' Griner said. ''We were moving the ball around, and that helped us a lot.''

The Mercury led by as much as 19 in the second quarter on Taurasi's 15-footer midway through the period, but Atlanta closed with an 18-6 run to cut the lead to six on McCoughtry's 3-pointer.

''The momentum kept swinging the other way,'' Herrington said. ''Every time we would get a good break, it just went the other way. We didn't make a lot of shots, either. When you're playing a team like this, you have to put the ball in the basket.''

Taurasi, the league's second-leading scorer and 2009 MVP of the WNBA finals, had a season-tying nine rebounds and six assists.

''The early lead came from good defensive play, getting the ball and getting out in transition,'' Taurasi said. ''And on the flip side, they did a good job of pressuring us defensively in the second half, and they got a lot of easy buckets, so it was kind of a tale of two halves.''

Atlanta currently holds the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed and has three regular season games remaining. Phoenix is third in the Western Conference with four games left.

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


FOX SPORTS Videos

Gruden not concerned about RG3's knee Posted: Jul 31, 2014
New Redskins head coach Jay Gruden believes RG3 is healthy and his knee could be...

Klatt: CFB Playoff is season's top storyline Posted: Jul 30, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Joel Klatt says the new College Football Playoff is the season's ...

Horsin' around with Eric Chavez Posted: Jul 30, 2014
FOX Sports Arizona's 10th Inning got an up-close look at the home/horse property...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Mitchell & Ness Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird Green Authentic Throwback Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Boston_Celtics/browse/featuredproduct/118804/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_118000/FF_118804_xl.jpg&w=100 249.95 Mitchell & Ness Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird Green Authentic Throwback Jersey
    adidas Los Angeles Lakers Purple Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/172442/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_172000/FF_172442_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Los Angeles Lakers Purple Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Miami Heat Black Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/173566/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_173000/FF_173566_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Miami Heat Black Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Chicago Bulls Red Primary Logo T-shirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Bulls/browse/featuredproduct/173568/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_173000/FF_173568_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 adidas Chicago Bulls Red Primary Logo T-shirt
    adidas Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird White Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Boston_Celtics/browse/featuredproduct/177922/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177922_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Boston Celtics #33 Larry Bird White Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball..
    adidas Atlanta Hawks #21 Dominique Wilkins Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Atlanta_Hawks/browse/featuredproduct/177923/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177923_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Atlanta Hawks #21 Dominique Wilkins Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basket..
    adidas Los Angeles Lakers #32 Magic Johnson Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey - Gold http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/177924/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_177000/FF_177924_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Los Angeles Lakers #32 Magic Johnson Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketbal..
    adidas New York Knicks #19 Willis Reed Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/178326/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178326_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas New York Knicks #19 Willis Reed Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Bas..
    adidas Philadelphia 76ers #6 Julius Erving Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Philadelphia_76ers/browse/featuredproduct/178582/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178582_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Philadelphia 76ers #6 Julius Erving Royal Blue Hardwood Classics Swingman..
    adidas Houston Rockets #34 Hakeem Olajuwon Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basketball Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Houston_Rockets/browse/featuredproduct/178773/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_178000/FF_178773_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Houston Rockets #34 Hakeem Olajuwon Red Hardwood Classics Swingman Basket..