Mercury drop Dream, extend win streak to three

ATLANTA (AP) — Diana 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.

Tiffany Hayes, who scored 19 points off the bench for the Dream, 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.

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.

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.

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

Taurasi, the league’s second-leading scorer, had a season-high-tying nine rebounds and six assists.

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