Taurasi, Mercury hold off Dream

BY foxsports • August 4, 2013

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Mercury simply outlasted the Atlanta Dream.

In a game that had both teams taking
double-digit leads and then running off long stretches of points, it
came down to the final seconds.

Diana Taurasi scored 28 points and the
Mercury held off the Dream's fourth-quarter rally 82-76 on Saturday
night to snap a three-game skid.

Phoenix led by 14 in the fourth quarter before Atlanta pulled within one with just more than a minute remaining.

"We can't have that," said the Mercury's
DeWanna Bonner, who hit three of four free throws in the final 37
seconds. "When we get a lead, we have to keep it. It made it hard on us
but I think we faught very hard and got the win."

Bonner finished with 23 points as Phoenix (10-10) won for just the second time in its last eight games.

Angel McCoughtry had 33 points and eight
assists for Atlanta (11-6), which was playing for the first time since
July 24. Erika de Souza added 16 points and 11 rebounds as Atlanta,
second in the Eastern Conference, lost for the fifth time in its last

"They just got to the line," said Angel
McCoughtry, who led the Dream with 33 points and eight assists. "You
know what I'm saying? We didn't get to the line like we should have.
They made free throws and that was it."

Atlanta dropped to 0-5 on the road
against Western Conference teams this season. Phoenix improved to 6-1
against the East and beat Atlanta for the first time since Aug. 11,

Taurasi's free throws with 6:21
remaining gave Phoenix a 71-57 lead but Atlanta rallied, getting layups
from de Souza and McCoughtry after Phoenix turnovers to pull to 77-76
with 1:06 remaining.

Taurasi and Bonner then made five of six free throws in the final minute to help secure Phoenix's win.

Both teams had double-digit leads in
the game and back-to-back runs in the second quarter to keep it close.
However, Atlanta missed 14 of 17 shots in the third quarter as Phoenix
took a 58-52 advantage going into the final period.

"We took them out of their offensive
sets and they weren't comfortable," Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. "It
turned into a 1-on-1 game and that's kind of hard against the zone."

McCoughtry, the league's second-leading
scorer behind Taurasi at 20.3 points per game, had 22 by halftime but
shot 4 for 17 from the field in the second half.

"I just thought we just kind of went a
little cold in the third," Dream coach Fred Williams said. "(We) got a
little stagnant there some. We were just trying to find our way with a
few players to get a nice combination in there. When that happened it
happened around the fourth quarter and that's when we made our run."

The teams traded runs in the second quarter as Atlanta took a 43-40 lead at the break.

Phoenix went on a 19-2 run, scoring 12
straight to take a 40-29 lead with 2:55 left in the half. But McCoughtry
scored seven during a 14-0 run to end the quarter that gave the Dream
their three-point advantage.

Taurasi, the leading scorer in the
WNBA, had 15 by halftime for the Mercury, who had 10 turnovers in the
first quarter, leading to 12 Dream points. Atlanta took advantage of
Phoenix's miscues to score 10 fast-break points on its way to a 24-17
lead after one.

Atlanta has another week off before playing six games in a 10-day stretch later in the month.

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