Griner helps Mercury beat Fever 79-69
PHOENIX (AP) The Phoenix Mercury bounced back from their first loss in six weeks with a big fourth quarter run.
Brittney Griner scored 17 points and the Mercury scored 14 straight points to pull away from the Fever in a 79-69 win on Saturday night.
''I don't necessarily think we played that well, but at the end of the day we won the game so we'll just move on and try to get some rest and keep going,'' said Diana Taurasi. ''I think today was one of those days where we were at our highest level but we figured it out toward the end.''
Taurasi added 15 points, five assists and three rebounds for the Mercury (23-4), who haven't lost consecutive games all season.
Phoenix, which lost to Minnesota on Thursday night to end its 16-game winning streak, fell behind 63-61 with 7:09 left in the game before going on its big run. Indiana missed 11 shots in a row over a seven-minute stretch, including three layups and at least two wide-open looks.
''We battled for the entire 40 minutes, it just came down to making shots and we weren't able to do that towards the end,'' said Shavonte Zellous, who scored 14 points to lead the Fever (13-15).
Indiana rallied all night, outrebounding Phoenix 44-35, and holding Griner to two points in the second half.
''We had to respond. Coach definitely made a point of emphasis to rebound because they were getting a lot of second chance points,'' Griner said. ''When we started rebounding, it kind of turned us around. We started getting fast breaks and easy baskets. When we can do that, we're hard to guard when we are out running.''
Tamika Catchings, who had been averaging 15.8 points in the 10 games she has played this season, was held to eight points on 0-of-10 shooting on Saturday.
''I shot terrible tonight and I wasn't the only one on our team,'' Catchings said. ''This is the end of our long road trip. I think when you look at just how we match up, this is the best team in the league right now. To see we matched up and we lost in the last five minutes of the game.''
Briann January hit three 3-pointers and had 11 points for Indiana, which was 2-3 on its nine-day road trip.
''I thought we put ourselves in position to maybe steal a game here against the best team in the league,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. ''We won the boards, we got to the free throw line 23 times, we got open looks but we just didn't knock `em down.''
Indiana shot just 24 percent from the field in the second half, missing 13 of 17 in the final period.
Phoenix won its 12th straight at home, setting a franchise mark. The Mercury are 18-2 in their last 20 games. They are 13-1 at home with three games left. No Mercury team had won more than 12 home games in a season.
''What I like is that they responded,'' Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. ''We know that wasn't our best game, we played lackluster for such a long time. But we could change it. Sometimes that isn't always easy but we changed it through the course of the game and it was not just one person. It was everyone collectively picking up their intensity.''
Griner had 15 points to lead Phoenix to a 47-42 lead at the break. Zellous had 11 points and two assists for Indiana. The Fever had seven turnovers in the first half, leading to nine Phoenix points.