The Phoenix Mercury continue to dominate offensively as they close in on the longest winning streak in WNBA history.
They’ll seek a 15th straight victory when they host the improving and stingy New York Liberty on Friday night.
The Mercury (20-3) need four wins to match Los Angeles’ record streak in 2001 and one to tie the league’s second-longest run, set by Houston in 1998. Phoenix’s last loss came by one point at Connecticut on June 12.
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Leading the WNBA with 86.0 points per game, the club put together another impressive offensive showing in a 93-73 win over the Sparks on Thursday. DeWanna Bonner scored a season-high 22 while Brittney Griner added 18 on 8-of-9 shooting.
Bonner scored 20 in the first half, helping the Mercury score a season-high 61 points over the first 20 minutes for a 25-point halftime advantage.
"We had a talk recently and I wanted her to be more aggressive on the offensive end," coach Sandy Brondello said of Bonner, averaging a career low-tying 10.7 points. "It was good for her to get going. I just want her to be aggressive. She can put numbers on the board, so I just wanted her to get involved as much as she can."
The Mercury shot 53.8 percent from the field even though Diana Taurasi went 5 for 17. Taurasi still matched her average with 18 points.
Phoenix needs eight wins to equal the single-season league record of 28, achieved most recently by Seattle in 2010.
"I think we worked hard for it," Bonner said of the winning streak. "Nothing came easy. But we don’t look ahead. We don’t look behind at what we did or what we’re doing."
The Liberty (10-13), holding opponents to a league-low 41.6 percent shooting, hope their stout defense can slow Phoenix down. They’ll be playing for the third time in four days, though they’ve won three in a row and six of eight.
"I think that we’re getting better. I think we are understanding who we are," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We’ve got a long way to go still."
New York comes off an 84-80 overtime win at Seattle on Thursday. Tina Charles put the Liberty ahead on a putback with 23 seconds remaining following a missed shot by Cappie Pondexter.
"I know for sure we want to get the ball to Cappie because she makes a lot of last-second shots at the buzzer, and if it comes off I’m always going to try to crash the boards," said Charles, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds for her 11th double-double. "I went to my hook shot, and it went in."
Phoenix won both meetings with New York last season as Bonner and Candice Dupree each totaled 38 points.