Taurasi, Griner take over as Mercury down Mystics

PHOENIX (AP) — Diana Taurasi scored 31 points and rookie Brittney Griner added a season-best 21 to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 90-82 victory over the Washington Mystics on Friday night.

After trailing by 13, Washington went on a 13-2 run over three minutes of the fourth quarter to get within 80-78 with 3:21 remaining but then missed shots on back-to-back possessions in the final three minutes, allowing Phoenix to pull away.

Taurasi added five assists and five rebounds for the Mercury (4-4), who have won four of their last five after losing their first three games. Griner, the No. 1 overall draft pick this year, also had four rebounds in her 26 minutes.

Ivory Latta had 22 points and five assists for the Mystics (4-3), who trailed by double digits in the second and third quarters. Matee Ajavon had 18 points and Monique Currie add 17 points and eight rebounds for Washington.

Candice Dupree added 12 points and six rebounds for the Mercury, who doubled the Mystics inside 44-22.

Both teams had won three straight before losing earlier in the week.

Phoenix shot 59 percent – 20 of 34 – in the first half in taking a 49-38 lead at the break. Taurasi had 17 points and three assists while Griner scored 13 points in 13 minutes as the Mercury started to find the No. 1 draft pick inside. At one point, 26 of Phoenix’s 31 points came from in the paint.

The Mercury, the second best shooting team in the WNBA, ended the night 32 of 62 from the field (52 percent), their best night of the season.