Taylor helps Mercury begin streak, earn road victory in San Antonio
Mercury players strategize during a timeout.
SAN ANTONIO – After starting the season 0-3, the Phoenix Mercury (2-3) are on a 2-0 winning streak after defeating the San Antonio Silver Stars 105-98 in the first matchup of a four-game road trip. The Silver Stars (4-1), who played without starting forward Sophia Young, were never able to build any momentum to overcome the Mercury in front of a home crowd of 7, 072 on the night of the fifteenth anniversary of the WNBA.
â€œItâ€™s big for us to get this first win of our four-game road trip,â€ said Mercury forward Penny Taylor who led all scorers with 30. â€œWe had a few losses to start the season but we really feel like we are going forward now with some momentum.â€
Without Young, who averages 17.5 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per contest, the Silver Stars only managed to tie the game twice, both times during the first quarter, and only with brief moments of slim margins. Young missed the game due to illness.
While the first quarter ended in a tie at 23, the Mercury quickly took the lead in the second period within seconds when Temeka Johnson made a 21-foot three-point jumper.
Taylorâ€™s production was backed up by Candice Dupree who had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Other Phoenix players in double figures included Kara Braxton who scored 15 points and had nine rebounds and Johnson who scored 14 and dished out six assists.
Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars with 28 points while rookie Danielle Adams helped out with 22, her fourth straight game in double figures. Rookie point guard Danielle Robinson contributed 10 while seven-year veteran guard Jia Perkins had 15.
The game was marked by intense physical play with both teams taking hard hits as they jockeyed for position in the lane. Officials penalized Taurasi and Taylor with one technical each during the course of the game as they complained about calls in the heat of the moment.
San Antonio came into the game as the only undefeated team in the league and beat the Mercury 101-99 on June 17, Phoenixâ€™s home opener. Mercury head coach Corey Gaines was pleased that his team took down San Antonio on the road.
â€œSan Antonio is the number one team in the league right now I think,â€ said Gaines. â€œTough team to play against. Itâ€™s sad that Sophia couldnâ€™t play. Sometimes you have to be lucky too, unlucky for them, lucky for us. They are a good team, Becky shot the ball well, Adams the rookie is playing great. Itâ€™s just a good team.â€
Even without star Taurasi scoring in double figures, the Mercury gained the victory as other players stepped up. Taylor was happy that other members of the squad made a mark in the game.
â€œItâ€™s great,â€ she said, â€œwe rely on [Taurasi] so heavily so often that when she is not having one of her best nights that everyone has to step up. She is always doing something out there, sheâ€™s getting us the ball or sheâ€™s getting on the boards and playing really good defense, so she is always doing something positive for us.â€
Silver Stars head coach Dan Hughes, while not happy with the lost, had positive comments about his teamâ€™s performance.
â€œI like the way we competed,â€ he said. â€œI thought we had a really hard time defensively getting a consistency out of the game. You canâ€™t really be upset when your team scores 95 points without your leading scorer. But you give up 105 in the process of doing that….Had we been sturdier defensively it would have been interesting to see what the end would have looked like.â€
The Mercury continues the road trip with a game against the Atlanta Dream on Friday, June 24. San Antonio remains at home to face Los Angeles on the same day.
Other games in the league from Tuesday night:
Atlanta 71, Chicago 68
Angel McCoughtry scored 14 points while recent addition to the Dream squad Courtney Paris had nine points and eight rebounds.
Indiana 89, Washington 80
Reserve guard Shavonte Zellous led Indiana with a season-high 21 points. Jessica Davenport and Briann January added 18 each.
Seattle 82, Tulsa 77
Seattle earned a road victory propelled by Sue Birdâ€™s 21 points. Swin Cash added 17.
Los Angeles 96, New York 91
DeLisha Milton-Jones led the Sparks on their homecourt with 27 points to defeat the New York Liberty 96-91 in the leagueâ€™s 15th anniversary game. Candace Parker had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Kristi Toliver added 16 and Tina Thompson scored 14.
|New York||2||4||0.333||2.5||2-3||0-2||2-2||2-4||L 4|
|Los Angeles||4||1||0.800||0.5||3-1||4-0||0-1||4-1||W 3|
|San Antonio||4||1||0.800||0.5||3-1||2-1||2-0||4-1||L 1|