Mercury hit 13 3s, advance in WNBA playoffs

Bruce Yeung/Yeung Photography

TEMPE, Ariz. — DeWanna Bonner had 29 points and 11 rebounds and Diana Taurasi collected 26 points and 12 assists, helping the Phoenix Mercury beat the Dallas Wings 101-83 on Tuesday night in the opening game of the WNBA playoffs.

Phoenix (21-14) advances to play at Connecticut in another single-elimination round on Thursday.

Phoenix broke it open in the third quarter, hitting six 3-pointers. Bonner banked in a long 3 just before the shot clock expired and Taurasi added a 3 on its next possession, part of an 11-0 run that lifted the Mercury to a 79-59 lead.

“We knew the circumstances today. It’s been an up and down season for us, but at the core of it we know we’re a really good team,” Taurasi said, “and it’s just getting to the point of playing like it. We’re finally at the point where we’re comfortable knowing what we need to do to get it done.”

Brittney Griner added 17 points for fifth-seeded Phoenix (21-14). Taurasi made six 3-pointers, helping the Mercury go 13 of 29 from long range.

Phoenix closed the first quarter by making seven straight field goals and Taurasi capped the first-half scoring with a 3-pointer for a 53-49 advantage. Phoenix opened a double-digit lead early in the third and outscored Dallas 26-15 in the frame.

“We were very satisfied with the win tonight,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “It was a close game in that first half. We had really great energy coming out of the locker room and we got the separation that we needed.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 23 points for No. 8 seed Dallas (15-20). Elizabeth Cambage had 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in her playoff debut.

The game was moved to Arizona State’s Wells Fargo Arena due to a scheduling conflict at the Mercury’s regular home court.