Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ – The Phoenix Mercury (18-14) defeated the Los Angeles Sparks (18-13) 86-78 as chants of “BEAT LA” rained down from the fans. The Mercury were carried by stellar performances from Diana Taurasi who scored 20 points and had a career high with 14 assists, Dewanna Bonner who dropped 31 points, and Brittney Griner who added 20 points. The Sparks were led by Candace Parker who scored 23 points. This is the first time the Mercury have beat the Sparks in a regular season game since 2015.
Parker came out aggressive scoring the first 12 points for the Sparks as she hit a three pointer and added baskets in the paint from post-ups and offensive rebounds.
The Mercury kept pace with Los Angeles through ball movement and player movement leading to open shots. Britney Griner was heavily involved in lots of pick and roll action which led to open lay-ups. The Sparks led 22-21 after the first quarter. Parker led all scorers with 15 points. Griner led the Mercury with seven points.
The second quarter started off slowly offensively for both teams as it took over two and half minutes for the first field goal to be scored.
Los Angeles looked to struggle to create offense without Parker on the floor, she sat to start the second quarter. The Sparks did not score while Parker was on the bench.
The quarter continued to be a defensive slug fest as the score was 30-25 Sparks with 4:07 left. The Mercury’s offense woke up after a timeout as Dewanna Bonner had a huge second quarter scoring eight points which led the run for Phoenix.
The Mercury were up 41-34 at the half. Bonner was the leading scorer for Phoenix with 14 points. Taurasi had 10 assists in the first half. Parker led all scorers with 20 points.
Bonner continued the hot shooting as she hit a three to open the third quarter. Both teams exchanged baskets for the first four minutes of the second half and the Mercury were up 46-41 with 6:06 left in the third quarter.
The Sparks could not stay attached to Phoenix as the quarter continued and Parker’s scoring output slowed down.
The Mercury ended the quarter on a high note as Bonner hit a three pointer from two feet in front of the half court line. Bonner had 25 points after three quarters. Phoenix was up 67-54 after three quarters.
“I saw her hit four of those shots against us in the Euro league finals, so I knew it was going in,” said Griner.
Phoenix started the fourth quarter off hot as Bonner and Taurasi continued to rain down three pointers and the led grew as the quarter went on. The Mercury were up 81-67 with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mercury would go on to win 86-78.