Mercury lose 10th straight in Taurasi’s return
PHOENIX (AP) — Briann January scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead Indiana to an 85-72 win over Phoenix on Saturday night, handing the Mercury their 10th straight loss.
Katie Douglas added 16 points and six rebounds for Indiana (14-8), which has won four of its last five games and moved three games behind first-place Connecticut in the Eastern Conference.
Diana Taurasi, in just her third game with the Mercury (4-19) this season, scored 19 points. It was Taurasi’s first game for Phoenix since leading the U.S. to a fifth straight gold medal at the Olympics.
Taurasi missed the first half of the season while recovering from a hip flexor. Once she returned from the Olympic break, she was sidelined when a wisdom tooth was removed.
Even with their star back, the Mercury couldn’t end their skid.
The Fever ran off seven straight points early in the fourth quarter to pull away after the Mercury had gotten within 62-56 with 9:33 remaining. Indiana went 4 for 6 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter to lengthen the lead.
Tamika Catchings had 12 points, six assists and two blocked shots for Indiana. Jessica Davenport added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. The Fever led by as many as 10 in the first half, but Taurasi hit a 3-pointer 15 seconds into the second half to cut the Fever’s lead to 35-34.
However, Shavonte Zellous responded by sparking a 7-0 run, and the Mercury never got closer than four after that.
Indiana, which is on pace to set a league mark in 3-pointers this season, went 9 of 20 from outside the line.
DeWanna Bonner had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Mercury, who again played without three injured regulars. Phoenix regulars Candice Dupree (knee), Alexis Gray-Lawson (knee) and Charde Houston (ankle) all sat out on Thursday with injuries. Penny Taylor has missed the entire season while recovering from a torn ACL injury.