Depleted Mercury downed by Sky
PHOENIX (AP) — Shay Murphy scored 20 of her career-high 22 points in the first half and the Chicago Sky beat the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 86-55 on Sunday to stay a game behind New York for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East with three games to play.
Epiphanny Prince added 15 points and four assists, and Swin Cash had 12 points and eight rebounds for Chicago. The Sky have won four of their last six games to improve to 13-18.
Murphy scored seven straight points during a 12-0 run late in the second quarter as Chicago went up 55-26 at the break. The Mercury never got closer than 21 in the second half. It was the largest margin of victory in Sky franchise history, surpassing a 27-point win over San Antonio on July 14, 2010.
Charde Houston had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists for Phoenix (7-24).
With three injured starters out, the Mercury used only seven players — three rookies — for the second straight game.
The Sky scored 27 points off 19 Mercury turnovers.
Murphy, who came into the game averaging 7.8 points, made 4 of 5 3-pointers in the first half.
Chicago will visit Seattle on Tuesday and finish the season at home with games against third-place Atlanta and last-place Washington.
Courtney Vandersloot had 14 points and three assist for the Sky.
Olympic gold medalist Diana Taurasi, who has missed 23 games this season, sat out for the third straight game along with the league’s second-leading scorer, DeWanna Bonner, who has a sore back.
Chicago scored 21 points off 13 Phoenix first-half turnovers in building a 55-26 lead at the break. It was the most points Chicago has scored in a half this season. Chicago ran off the final seven points of the first quarter to take a 29-15 after one.