Griner sets blocks record, Mercury top Shock 80-77
TULSA, Okla. (AP) Brittney Griner blocked 11 shots to set a single-game WNBA record and added 21 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to an 80-77 victory over the Tulsa Shock on Sunday.
”I knew I had a couple of blocks, but I didn’t know how many,” Griner said. ”To do that is pretty big, now I guess I have to try to beat it.”
Lisa Leslie (2004) and Margo Dydek (2001) held the previous record of 10.
”I had a (bad) game against Indiana,” Griner said. ”I had to come out and play good to help my team.”
Since losing to Tulsa on June 6, Phoenix has won seven of nine games.
”I’m glad we don’t play (Tulsa) again,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. ”They’re a good team. They’re young. They have great penetration points from their guards. Skylar (Diggins) is playing great. They are playing hard.
”I actually thought Brittney had more blocks than that. When she started to get more physical and deeper in the paint, that’s when she’s tough to guard. She came up big for us obviously.”
Penny Taylor went 10 for 10 on free throws to finish with 17 points for the Western Conference-leading Mercury (10-3), who had all five starters score in double figures. Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner chipped in 14 and Candice Dupree had 11.
Taurasi also had eight assists.
”We’re talented, we’re pretty well balanced,” the guard said. ”That’s how we want to play this year. We’re aggressive and confident in what we’re doing.
”We’re playing with a little more focus. We let Tulsa take it to us last time we were here. Today, we played with a little more energy. "
Diggins, Odyssey Sims and Glory Johnson scored 16 points apiece for the Shock (6-9).
”Tulsa has two good guards in Skylar and Odyssey,” Taurasi said. ”Glory is getting her game going, and now Courtney has become a force as well.”
The game came down to the final possession. Diggins drew a double team on an inbounds play and launched a contested shot that bounced off the rim and to Dupree. Taurasi cleared the ball into the frontcourt to end the game.
”We played hard,” Tulsa coach Fred Williams said. ”We’re working hard. Every possession we had in the second half came down to a stoppage. Phoenix shot well, made some things with Griner in the post-up game and made it awfully difficult for us to get to the rim.”