SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Danielle Adams and Danielle Robinson scored 20 points each and the San Antonio Silver Stars beat Phoenix 88-82 on Saturday night, handing the Mercury their first loss under interim coach Russ Pennell.
Jia Perkins added 17 points and Shenise Johnson had 15 for San Antonio (9-15). Robinson, sporting a pink Mohawk in honor of the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness Night, also had eight assists while going 10 for 11 on free throws in a chippy contest between the Western Conference rivals.
Diana Taurasi scored 23 points, Charde Houston had 15, Brittney Giner added 11 and Candice Dupree finished with 10 for Phoenix (13-12), which had won three straight since Pennell replaced Corey Gaines on Aug. 8.
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The Mercury had 44 points in the paint compared to 28 by the Silver Stars, but the San Antonio guards dominated their Phoenix counterparts.
Perkins and Robinson led a 14-4 run to close the first quarter, using their quickness to consistently get penetration against the Mercury. Perkins hit an 18-foot jumper and a 3-pointer, and Robinson had a layup after passing to Catherine Kraayeveld for a breakaway layup. Shameka Christon closed the quarter by rattling in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give San Antonio a 23-13 lead.
Taurasi took matters into her own hands in the second quarter after complaining about a lack of calls. She made two 3-pointers and drove for an open layup after nearly flooring Robinson with a shoulder. Taurasi’s run pulled Phoenix within 45-33 with 1:23 left in the first half, but the points did little to quell the fiery play.
Robinson and Alexis Hornbuckle were twice warned by officials to “watch it” after grabbing and pulling on each other while fighting through a series of picks. Robinson picked up her dribble to call timeout late in the first half, but Hornbuckle attempted to reach around for a steal, prompting the Silver Stars’ point guard to throw an elbow that just missed Hornbuckle’s head.
Robinson hit the court hard in the third quarter after being undercut by Houston on a layup but quickly rose after rolling over in pain. She was nearly floored again later in the quarter after being struck in the neck on a full sprint when Lynetta Kizer stuck her arm out and nearly clotheslined her. Neither was ruled a flagrant foul despite the protests of the Silver Stars’ bench.