Mercury dealt third straight loss by Silver Stars

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Becky Hammon paid the price for her big night.

Hammon made of 7 of 9 3-pointers while scoring 30 points, leading the Silver Stars to an 85-66 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night. She sparked a sharp-shooting performance by San Antonio, which hit 53 percent from 3-point range and 46 percent from the field. She made 9 of 14 shots from the field in setting her season high for points.

San Antonio’s first home victory helped Hammon ease the sting of bruises. She had ice packs on her lower back, hips and knees, and both feet immersed in a bucket of ice water after the game.

“I’m a little banged up right now,” she said, smiling through a swollen lip suffered during Wednesday’s loss to Chicago.

Her pain equaled the hurting the 35-year-old guard put on Phoenix.

“Becky has still got it,” Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. “She may be a little long in the tooth, but she can still go.”

Hammon opened the game by hitting consecutive 3-pointers to set an up-tempo tone.

“I just took the shots that I thought were available,” she said. “I didn’t want to force anything.

“I came off some handoffs and stuff, so I knew I’d have a second to get a clean look. (The shots) fell. When you start feeling good, you start getting a lot more comfortable taking those shots.”

San Antonio (2-2) took advantage of a Phoenix team playing the second night of a back-to-back series. The Silver Stars scored 30 fast-break points and forced 21 turnovers.

Candice Dupree and Nakia Sanford each scored 17 points to lead the Mercury (1-4), and Samantha Prahalis had 11.

The Silver Stars scored a season-high 44 points in the first half, shooting 47 percent to open the game.

San Antonio post player Jayne Appel had a big hand in the early surge. Appel finished with 11 rebounds — all on the defensive end — one blocked shot and seven points in her first start of the season.

“(Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes) talked to me a lot about just being an effort player,” Appel said. “Having a blue-collar worker and just bring a lot of energy whenever you’re in the game whether it’s 10 minutes or however long it is. Just coming in and being a spark.”

The Silvers Stars extended their lead to 20 points in the third quarter as Sophia Young took over offensively while Hammon sat. Young scored eight points in the period, including six of the team’s final eight points of the quarter.

“Becky and I are both leaders for this team,” Young said. “Whenever one of us is out, we expect the other one to pick up the slack. We do have confidence in each other to know that we’re going to do that.”

Young finished with 16 points and Jia Perkins added 12. Danielle Robinson led the team with a game-high 11 assists.

NOTES: Silver Stars center Tangela Smith is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Thursday on her left knee. Acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Indiana Fever, Smith had been favoring the knee noticeably prior to the surgery. She played less than 10 minutes combined in the Silver Stars’ opening two games before sitting out the team’s home opener Wednesday. . . . WNBA president Laurel Ritchie was in attendance for Friday’s game, helping the Silver Stars celebrate their 10th anniversary as a franchise in San Antonio.