Mercury look to turn up the heat against Stars (Jul 29, 2017)

BY AP • July 29, 2017

The Phoenix Mercury will try to complete a season sweep of San Antonio on Sunday when they host the Stars at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Phoenix (12-10) won twice in San Antonio earlier this season -- 78-72 on May 19 and 92-77 on July 7.

Almost every team in the WNBA has been beating up on the Stars, who are last in the 12-team league with a 3-20 record. They have been better lately after opening the season with 14 consecutive losses.

San Antonio is coming off an 85-73 home loss to Los Angeles on Friday night when Sparks center Candace Parker became the sixth player in league history to post a triple-double. Los Angeles shot 55.2 percent from the field, thanks in part to 22 points in transition.

"We can't allow that to happen," Stars coach Vickie Johnson told the San Antonio Express-News. "We're the team that's supposed to run on them. But when you turn the ball over at the top of the key, it's hard to recover defensively."

Phoenix won 86-80 at the Chicago Sky on Friday night, snapping a four-game losing streak. It was the Mercury's first victory since losing center Brittney Griner, the WNBA's leading scorer, to knee and ankle injuries. She could return in mid-August.

"I'm excited to go to Phoenix and be on their home court," Stars forward Isabelle Harrison said. "I think we can do a good job against them, knowing that BG isn't playing. We have to make sure we take advantage of that and contain Diana (Taurasi) as well."

Taurasi is averaging 19.0 points per game -- seventh best in the league -- but had only nine Friday night as the Mercury reserves stepped up in a big way, combining for 43 points. Backup center Cayla George, who has had to play more recently, posted career highs in points and rebounds with 14 each.

This will be the second game between the teams since a trade in late June that brought 12-year WNBA veteran wing Monique Currie to the Mercury. Currie scored 18 points in 14 minutes off the bench Friday night.

That was her season-high scoring total with the Mercury. She had a 29-point game this season with San Antonio.

"I think I can bring another scoring option, a veteran presence," Currie said after the trade.

The Stars, who are last in the WNBA in scoring at 74.1 points per game, are led by guard Kayla McBride, averaging 15.6 points per game. Harrison averages 11.7 and is second in rebounding at 5.6 per game.

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