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Winless no more, Stars notch 1st victory

San Antonio Stars got their first win of the season against the Phoenix Mercury, 76-71. The Mercury struggled a lot, especially offensively. Their star center, Brittney Griner, will return next game after a 7-game suspension.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Most of the first half, Phoenix struggled to get points on the board, while San Antonio played with a hunger and fervor as they were seeking their first win. It really showed in the first quarter, as they got out to an early lead, and rode that momentum throughout the whole half.

Stars head coach Dan Hughes got ejected after two back-to-back technical foul calls, but San Antonio did not let that hold them back.  The Stars just out-hustled and outplayed the Mercury, as they maintained the lead and were up by 11, with about 6 minutes left in the first half.

Even when the Mercury began to produce offensively, San Antonio continued to respond, which made it hard for Phoenix to shorten the lead and come back.

Sophia Young-Malcolm of the Stars was a key factor throughout the entire first half, as she led all scorers with 11 points going into halftime.  Also, rookie Dearica Hamby looked good for the Stars, with 6 points and 8 rebounds going into the second half.

Just when you thought San Antonio might have had this one, Phoenix turned their intensity up in the second half.  They scored off their first two shot attempts, cutting the lead to three.  The Mercury finally ended up taking the lead for the first time with about 7 minutes, with DeWanna Bonner hitting a three-pointer, but the Stars did not wilt, as they continued to answer back.

Both teams continued to trade baskets back-and-forth, and eventually tied the game, with about three minutes left in the third quarter.  Each team played great defensively, and almost forced multiple shot clock violations.

The Stars posts seemed a little frustrated, as they got called for traveling violations, and their team did not score for the final three minutes of the quarter.  The Mercury completely shifted the momentum of the game, and had taken control of the game going into the fourth quarter, leading 54-48.

San Antonio's Kayla McBride struggled from outside throughout the entire game, but she hit her first shot from long distance to start the fourth quarter.  This gave them the energy back, and they did not let up, as they went on a 7-0 run.

Phoenix could not seem to finish around the rim, as they missed many crucial baskets and the Stars took advantage of that.  Bonner hit a three to tie the game at 71-71 with 35 seconds left.

After a timeout was called by the Stars, they executed on a three-point shot by Jia Perkins, as she got the "friendly role" from behind the arc, and they took the lead by three with 25 seconds left in the game.

On the other end, Leilani Mitchell had a great look for a last second three, but she missed the wide open shot, and Perkins grabbed the rebound and got fouled.  Perkins was the spark in the last minute for the Stars as she knocked down the pair of free throws, giving the Stars their first win of the season, 76-71.

Impact players of the game:

San Antonio Stars

Sophia Young- Malcolm: Young-Malcolm has been playing with a fire in her belly and has been really productive for the San Antonio Stars in last two games. Carrying over from the last game against the Chicago Sky, where she had a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds

Tonight she had 21 points and seven rebounds.  Her production sparked the Stars and it paid off tonight, as they got their first win of the season.

Jia Perkins: Perkins scored the last 5 points for the Stars, where she hit a clutch three-pointer that broke the tie and knocked down a pair of free-throws, which made it a two-possession game for the Mercury.  Her hustle and energy sparked the Stars and led them to their first victory of the season.