Diana Taurasi and Brittany Griner scored 22 points apiece as the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Chicago Sky 96-86 on Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.
Phoenix, the league leader in points scored per game, shot 52.5 percent from the field, including 10 of 19 from 3-point range. Skyler Diggins-Smith and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each added 17 points for the Mercury (4-2). Griner grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
The Sky’s Courtney Vandershoot scored 21 points and had eight assists, and Kahleah Copper added 18 points. Allie Quigley shot 5 of 16 from the field to finish with 13 points.
Chicago (4-2) started the game off on the right foot. The Sky made five of their first seven shots to go up 12-5, causing the Mercury to call an early timeout.
Phoenix then went on a 27-6 run over the next six-plus minutes to end the first quarter up 32-18. That included a four-minute stretch when the Mercury made ever shot they took from the field.
In the second quarter, Chicago kept chipping away at the Phoenix lead, scoring 31 points in the period and cutting the deficit to 55-49 at the half. Diggins-Smith had 15 points to lead the Mercury in the first half.
After the break, both teams struggled to make shots before the Sky went on an 8-0 run over an 53-second span, forcing Phoenix to call a timeout with its advantage down to one point.
But as in the first quarter, the Mercury came out of the timeout with a different mindset and took over. Phoenix finished the quarter on a 20-8 run, highlighted by nine points from Taurasi, to lead 80-67.
In the fourth, the Mercury maintained their double-digit lead thanks to Walker-Kimbrough and Griner. With 1:25 to go, Chicago coach James Wade received his second technical foul and was ejected.
Bria Hartley, Phoenix’s leading scorer in 2020, did not play in the game due to a foot injury. Walker-Kimbrough filled the void, posting a season-high point total in 24 minutes off the bench.
–Field Level Media