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Shock have no answer for Bonner

DeWanna Bonner has been on a tear of late for the Phoenix Mercury. And tonight was no different, as she led the Mercury to another victory over the Shock.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night, Tulsa was looking to get a win on their home court against a Phoenix team that beat them earlier this season.

Phoenix got off to a good start with forward Candice Dupree scoring the first two baskets of the game. While she would not score again for almost three minutes, it made no difference since Tulsa did not score until the 6:43 mark when guard Odyssey Sims made two free throws to put the Shock on the board.

The first quarter was spotty to say the least.

"I thought we came out with a couple of shots that didn't go down for us." said Tulsa Head Coach Fred Williams. "They ran out on us on the back end."

It seemed as if nothing was falling for Tulsa, until center Courtney Paris gave them their first basket almost six minutes into the game. The Mercury was not able to take advantage, as they could not get anything to fall either.

The end of the quarter is where things took a turn for the better for Tulsa, as Sims, who finished the night with 16 points, scored a layup to give them their first lead of the game at 9-8. Sims would score twice again before the end of the quarter, leading the Shock into the second quarter at 16-13.

Tulsa has the lead going into the half at every home game this season and tonight would be no different.

Mercury guard Alex Harden scored first in the second quarter, followed by two three-point jumpers by teammates Cayla Francis and Monique Currie, to give Phoenix the lead at 21-18.

The lead was short-lived.

Sims and teammate Riquna Williams made shots to tie it up at 23. But, it was Shock veteran Plenette Pierson who raised the momentum with two back-to-back shots to put them up 30-27, as the Mercury called a full timeout.

"Our tempo was a little too slow," Dupree acknowledged.

The first points after the timeout would come from Sims, who made both free throws after being fouled by Mercury guard Leilani Mitchell. After a layup by Karima Christmas, Williams would also make both of her shots from the line.

Dupree, who finished the night with 20 points, responded with a basket run of her to keep Phoenix in it at 31-36. Christmas then came back with a 22-foot three pointer, and Sims finished out the half with two more free throws to put Tulsa on top by nine at the half 40-31.

Following the half, the Mercury came out swinging.

Although they were quickly outscored 3-1 to start the half. After a full timeout, Brittney Griner, who finished the game with a double-double 13 points and 10 rebounds, scored a field goal, followed by another from Dupree.

"The second half is the way the Phoenix Mercury play," said Phoenix Guard DeWanna Bonner.

Mercury guard DeWanna Bonner who was perfect from the free throw line, made a layup and free throw. At the same time, Tulsa had no answer for Griner in the paint, as she made two more layups to put Phoenix within five at 43-48.

As Dupree made another field goal, it was veteran guard Noelle Quinn who made two jumpers including a 24-foot three-pointer to tie it at 53.

Now it was a game.

The Mercury outscored Tulsa 24-13 in the third, and led 55-53 going into the fourth quarter.

Bonner, who finished the night with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists, scored first. Tulsa's Pierson replied with a three-point shot to bring the Phoenix lead to one.

"That's what made the difference in the game," said Griner. "Collectively, us talking to each other and bringing everybody together."

The first four minutes of the last quarter were reminiscent of the first quarter with both teams scoring a combined 9 points, until the Shock took a full timeout.

After the timeout, it was as if the Mortal Combat voice told the Mercury to "finish" them, as it was subsequently the Bonner, Dupree, and Griner show. In that order.

Bonner made a couple of free throws, followed by a jumper from Dupree, a layup and a free shot by Griner. Next, it was Dupree to the line making both shots, and a jumper to follow. However, it was Bonner's 24-foot three-pointer with 13 seconds left in the game that put the icing on the cake for Phoenix.

The trio went for a combined 19 points to finish the game, again holding the Shock to only 13.

"It was a bit like our first game back after the All-Star break against Chicago," Phoenix Head Coach Sandy Brondello explained. "We were down by 19 at one stage. I just don't think we brought the appropriate effort level where we needed to.

"But we're a pretty good defensive team, and I think we showed that to keep a team with so many offensive weapons to 26 points in the second half."

These teams play each other three more times this season. The next time will be in Phoenix on Aug. 4.