Mercury visit last-place Stars (Jul 6, 2017)

BY AP • July 6, 2017

The Phoenix Mercury will look to continue their recent domination of the San Antonio Stars when the teams meet for the second time this season on Friday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

The Mercury (8-6) beat San Antonio 78-72 in the Alamo City on May 19. Phoenix also swept the season series in 2016, winning all three games by an average win margin of 16.7 points per game.

The Friday game also will be the first matchup between San Antonio and Phoenix since a June 28 trade between the two squads. The Mercury acquired Monique Currie in the trade while sending Shay Murphy, Sophie Brunner and a 2018 draft pick to the Stars.

The Mercury head to San Antonio with some momentum built by an 88-80 victory over Washington on Wednesday in Phoenix. Brittney Griner posted her fourth double-double of the season with 30 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.

Griner, the league's leading scorer at 22.4 points per game, came back strong after scoring a season-low six points in a loss to Minnesota on June 30. She made 11 of 17 shots from the field against Washington and also had three blocked shots and three assists. Her 30 points marked her second-highest total of the season.

Paramount to her success on Wednesday was Griner's ability to stay out of foul trouble, which kept her on the bench for much of the loss to the Lynx.

"I can be very successful when a game is called great like tonight," Griner said after the Wednesday win. "These refs did a great job. Last game it was really the fouls. I can't attack from the bench."

Camille Little chipped in 14 points, and WNBA career scoring leader Diana Taurasi hit for 12 points, all in the final quarter and a half.

"Every game is tough in this league -- you can't just go in and expect to win because you'll lose," Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. "That's what I enjoy about it; we have the next challenge. We have to get ready for San Antonio."

San Antonio (1-15) was nearly run out of its own gym on Wednesday in an 89-56 trouncing by Connecticut, who scored eight of the game's first 10 points and never looked back. The Stars took their worst loss of the season after earning their first win of the year just five days earlier.

"Connecticut played harder than we did -- they played better than we did," San Antonio coach Vickie Johnson said. "They just dominated us. That's just the worst we've ever played. Our effort on both sides of the ball was horrible."

The Stars scored just 24 points in the first half (their lowest half of scoring this season) when they trailed 40-24 and never made a run at the Sun, thanks mostly to 33.9 percent shooting and significant rebounding and assist deficits. San Antonio's starters were outscored by its reserves 29-27 in the loss.

Kayla McBride led the Stars with 12 points against Connecticut. Kelsey Plum, the top draft pick in the 2017 WNBA draft, added a career-high 11 points, and Sydney Colson also hit for 11 points for San Antonio.

"No disrespect to Connecticut, but we really put it on ourselves the way we turned the ball over, just didn't execute (and) played real sloppy," Plum said. "Obviously, they had something to do with it, but I think a lot of it was unforced."


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