Phoenix 80, Washington 77
The Phoenix Mercury (3-7) overcame a three-game losing streak to close out a contest at home and beat the Washington Mystics, 80-77. It was the first Mercury win since June 3 against Tulsa. The Mercury collected its third straight win over the Mystics (2-7), including a sweep of the 2010 season series.
Rookie Samantha Prahalis did much of the heavy lifting for the Mercury. With 2:26 remaining and her team trailing 74-56, she hit a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, sparking an 11-3 Mercury run to end the game. She finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. DeWanna Bonner led her team in scoring with 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Krystal Thomas had 15 points and six rebounds while Alexis Hornbuckle scored 11 points.
The Mercury took the floor without four key players: Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor, Nakia Sanford and Candice Dupree. Phoenix coach Corey Gaines was pleased with the effort of Thomas to help pick up the slack.
“[Krystal Thomas] came out and played well,” said Gaines. “She rebounded the ball, played good defense, and made her lay-ups. I told her she played great and she can do that every game.”
Bonner said she felt her team was getting its bearings back.
“It felt like we were the old Mercury, when we won the championship,” said Bonner.
Michelle Snow led the Mystics with 21 points and nine rebounds. Monique Currie finished with 20 points.
Los Angeles 95, Tulsa 79
The Los Angeles Sparks (9-3) held off a feisty Tulsa Shock (1-10) squad to continue their winning ways at home, extending their streak to 6-0. Candace Parker, the current Western Conference Player of the Week, led her team with 33 points, eight rebounds and nine blocks. She was just one away from the franchise record of 10 blocks, which Lisa Leslie set on September 9, 2004 against the Detroit Shock.
Kristi Toliver contributed 22 points and was 14-of-14 from the free throw line. DeLisha Milton-Jones finished with 15 points and rookie Nneka Ogwumike had 12 points and six rebounds.
The Sparks outshot the Shock 54.8 percent to 37.2 percent. The Shock only committed 11 turnovers, but the Sparks were able to translate those turnovers into 20 points.
Glory Johnson led Tulsa with 19 points and eight rebounds. The Shock, hampered by injuries, did not have Jennifer Lacy, Scholanda Dorrell or Chante Black on the court. Lacy and Dorrell each have a torn meniscus and Black is out with a jaw injury.
Temeka Johnson scored 11 points in the first quarter plus six rebounds but went scoreless for the remainder of the game. Courtney Paris, who joined the team this week, had 11 points and eight rebounds. Ivory Latta and Rookie Riquna Williams contributed 10 points.
Sparks Head Coach Carol Ross
Energy level to start the game
“Tulsa’s team plays hard, they’ re going to play hard for a full game, and I thought our energy wasn’t as good as it could have been. I appreciated our perseverance. We shot the ball well and our offense got us out of some bonds on the defensive end.”
On Candace Parker’s shot blocking ability
“Candace has a great gift. She is the leading shot blocker in the league. Tonight was a good example of why she is able to affect a lot of shots. She’s quick, she’s good, and has pure instincts when it comes to shot blocking. Her timing is phenomenal.”
Tulsa Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg
On the addition of Courtney Paris
“We’re getting better, and now we’re just dealing with some injuries. We only had Courtney for one practice, and I thought she did a good job. She’s someone we can utilize for sure.”
On the changing roster
We have a couple players hurt, and a couple new players, so it’s hard. We’re trying to figure out each other and make up for players that aren’t there. The two new players don’t know our defense, so it’s difficult and we need more practice getting them used to it.
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