In what was the second half of a home-and-home series between the Phoenix Mercury and the visiting Seattle Storm Sunday, the Mercury emerged victorious as they earned their fifth consecutive win by a final score of 70-60.
Despite Seattle resting Sue Bird, the Storm played noticeably better in the first quarter compared to the contest on Friday in which they were outscored 25-11. Through the first period Sunday, Seattle managed to hold Phoenix to 19 while putting 15 points of their own on the board.
In the second quarter, however, the Mercury once again torched the Storm by a tally of 22-12 which let Phoenix take a 41-27 lead into halftime.
Phoenix was led in the first half by the nine points of both DeWanna Bonner and Brittney Griner. Despite her nine points and four rebounds in the half, Griner was not satisfied with her performance.
"In my opinion I had a horrible first and second quarter," said Griner. "So the third quarter, I was a little fired (up) to come out. I just wanted to play hard, to give us a spark, get us going."
Grinner would do just that as she became a one woman offensive machine. Between the 8:45 mark and the 3:15 mark, Griner scored all 14 straight points for the Mercury. With just over a minute to go in the period, Griner was subbed out and by the end of the quarter the Mercury were leading 62-45.
With Phoenix holding a lead of 17, both squads went to their benches to close out the contest. For the first 2:43 of the final quarter it looked as if the Mercury were going to make the score even more lopsided as they outscored the Storm 4-3.
Then Jenny Boucek subbed back in Jewell Loyd and Ramu Tokashiki, who were teamed with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Markeisha Gatling and Angel Goodrich. The lineup, nearly identical to the one that scored 26 points in only six minutes on Friday, instantly went on a 5-0 run forcing Mercury coach Sandy Brondello to sub Griner and Bonner back in.
Even with the starters on the floor, the Storm climbed all the way back to within eight with over a minute to go, before a missed jumper by Tokashiki, led to layup by none other than Griner to put the game out of reach.
"It's great to see all the rookies and the young teammates compete the way we did in the fourth quarter," said Boucek of the late rally. "Everything is a process. (W)e want to compete every single time we are on the floor and fight hard."
Over the final 7:16 of the game, Seattle lineup outscored Phoenix 12-4. Leading the late rally was Mosqueda-Lewis, who scored all of her career-high nine points in that span. Loyd, the only Storm player to reach double figures, finished with 16 points. It is the fifth time in seven games that she has scored in double figures, and she is averaging 13.3 points over that span.
The Mercury were led by the 26 points, seven rebounds from Griner and also received 11 points and six rebounds from Bonner.
Mercury superstar Diana Taurasi was in attendance for Sunday's contest.