WHITE PLAINS, NY — Earlier this month, and on the biggest stage the game of basketball has to offer, Phoenix Mercury guard and future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi had a shooting performance she soon would have wanted to forget, despite the fact that her team came away with the victory.
In a much smaller venue, though against the same team, Taurasi made up for her previous struggles in the Empire State with a near-flawless performance to get the Mercury back on the winning track. Taurasi scored 27 points, including making her first seven attempts from three, leading Phoenix to an 83-69 victory over the Liberty on Tuesday night and snapping the Mercury’s two-game losing streak.
Despite the Mercury’s 80-74 victory back on June 5 at Madison Square Garden, Taurasi struggled throughout that contest, missing eight of her nine 3-point attempts and marking only the second game all season in which she did not hit multiple threes in a game. Tonight, she had three 3-pointers in the first quarter alone as the Mercury raced out to a 15-2 lead on their way to a wire-to-wire victory. Taurasi had 17 of her points by halftime, making all six of her field goals – five from three.
DeWanna Bonner added 18 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Mercury, and also canned four three-pointers. Brittney Griner scored 12 points to go along with nine rebounds and six blocked shots.
Phoenix had built its first-half lead to a much as 18 points, but a 24-8 run by New York spanning the second and third quarters cut its deficit to two after a Tina Charles putback layup one minute into the third quarter. However, Taurasi responded by hitting two threes as the Mercury responded to the Liberty’s surge with a 10-2 run as Phoenix ended up holding a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half afterward.
Charles led four players scoring in double figures for New York with 12 points, while guards Shavonte Zellous and Bria Hartley each had 11 points as the Liberty now have lost three straight.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday evening’s game, with all photos taken by our senior photographer, Robert Cole. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 17 pictures in total.