Diana Taurasi came alive for 15 of her team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday night as the Phoenix Mercury wiped out an eight-point deficit to dump the Atlanta Dream 81-74 in a WNBA game in Bradenton, Fla.
Taurasi added six rebounds and six assists for Phoenix (3-2), which also got 18 points and six rebounds from Brittney Griner. Taurasi's feed to Griner for a short jumper with 49.7 seconds left gave the Mercury a 77-70 advantage and sealed the outcome.
Skylar Diggins-Smith and reserve Bria Hartley scored 12 points each as the Mercury overcame 38.7-percent field-goal shooting by making 19 of 22 free throws and forcing 23 turnovers that led to a whopping 28 points.
Atlanta (2-3) got a game-high 26 points from rookie point guard Chennedy Carter, who made 11 of 21 shots. Betnijah Laney stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. But the duo didn't get enough help from their teammates.
Taurasi fed Hartley for a 3-pointer with 5:41 left in the game that gave Phoenix the lead for good at 59-57. Taurasi ripped off her team's next nine points after that, draining a 3-ball with 2:55 remaining to make it 68-62.
Both teams struggled to score with consistency in the first half, though for differing reasons. Phoenix couldn't make a shot, while Atlanta canned 16 of 33 from the field but also coughed up a dozen turnovers that helped prop up its opponent.
After playing to a 15-15 tie in the first quarter, the Dream led most of the second quarter. They owned a 24-19 advantage when Blake Dietrick canned a long 3-pointer from the left wing off one of Laney's four first-half assists.
Despite clanging their way to 14 of 41 shooting in the half, including a miserable 1 of 12 from the 3-point line, the Mercury managed to head for the locker room down by only 35-33. Diggins-Smith wrapped up a solid 10-point half by taking a pass from Griner and converting a layup.
--Field Level Media