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Atlanta, Ga- Diana Taurasi and DaWanna Bonner both scored 20 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury (4-3) over the Atlanta Dream (2-3).
The Mercury was able to hold on to the win after a late surge by the Dream in the fourth quarter. “I think that should be one of our staples.We’re a veteran team with a lot championship pedigree,” stated Taurasi.
Taurasi and Bonner each scored 15 of their 20 points in the second half. Taurasi pitched in eight assist while Bonner added seven rebounds and six assist.
Phoenix jumped out to a early 19-9 lead going 7-10 from the field including 2-4 from 3-point land. Point guard Briann January led the team with six points early going 2-2 from behind the arch.
Atlanta battled back behind Renee Montgomery’s nine points hitting on all three of her 3-point shots helping the Dream go on a 8-0 run.
With both teams shooting over 50% from the field, the difference in the first quarter was field goal percentage overall. The Mercury shot 69.2 % in the first quarter led by Brittney Griner’s nine points to give them a 25-19 lead.
The Dream continued to struggle from the field shooting 26.7%. Phoenix could’t take advantage as they couldn’t find the basket themselves. Both teams turned up their defensive pressure and forced each other into making tough shots.
Mercury led the at the half 38-40 led by Griner’s 13 points but she collected her third foul late in the half. Angel McCoughtry led the Dream with 12 points and five rebounds.
The teams traded baskets to start the third quarter. Tiffany Hays became more aggressive by driving to the rim scoring on layups and getting to the foul line which catapulted an 11-0 run to bring them within one.
Phoenix offense became stifled by the Dream’s defense. Atlanta switched their approach by doubling the post player which caused the Mercury turnovers. “We caused some turnovers and were able to capitalize on some of them but their a great team,” stated Atlanta Dreams’ guard Brittney Sykes.
The intensity picked up in the fourth quarter as both teams battled to gain momentum. Atlanta couldn’t get over the hump as Phoenix was able close out the game.
Grindr added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Mercury. McCoughtry led Atlanta with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Montgomery added 14 points.
Taurasi is three points away from being the first WNBA player to score 8,000 in their career.