Phoenix, AZ -- Despite the absence of Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi in Saturday night's game against the San Antonio Stars. Phoenix was able to keep up their reputation of a high scoring team and lock in an 83-64 victory.
DeWanna Bonner, who finished the game with 33 points, attacked the Stars on almost every possession, dominating the inside and the perimeter. She used her length to penetrate the paint, getting her to the basket and to the foul line.
The Stars continued to struggle adjusting their offense after losing their leading scorer guard Kayla McBride, who broke her right foot earlier this month during their matchup against the Minnesota Lynx. McBride averaged 17.1 points per game.
The Stars, who are currently holding the worst record in the league, were coming off an 81-57 blowout loss to the Lynx, as they prepared to face the highest scoring team in the league.
San Antonio's head coach Dan Hughes, was forced to readjust his offense continually during Saturday's game, in order to try and contend Phoenix's robust defense.
It seemed to be a lid on the rim for both teams in the opening minutes of the game. The Stars led at just 6-5 more than halfway through the first quarter, shooting just 38 percent. Phoenix, who was also missing their leading scorer Taurasi due to a technical foul suspension, shot just 33 percent from the field in the first half.
This allowed the Stars to stay on Phoenix's tail, leading up to rookie point guard Moriah Jefferson's buzzer-beating three-pointer that ended the first quarter and cut the deficit to just a point.
Jefferson is the only active Star averaging in double figures at 11.5 points per game. She ended Saturday's matchup leading her team with 14 points, followed by Dearica Hamby with 13.
Bonner got things going on the outside in the last minutes of the first half. Her corner three-pointer in the final 30 seconds gave her 14 first half points and Phoenix a seven-point lead to take into halftime.
While both teams struggled offensively in the first half, the Mercury was able to pick up the slack on defense, thanks to Brittney Griner putting on a block party and dominating the boards. She completed the game with nine points and six blocks, becoming No.11 on the WNBA's all-time block list, passing Tamika Catchings.
Griner didn't put up any points until the final minutes of the first half, but her power and energy on defense was the key to keeping the Mercury just a notch above San Antonio. Griner's long reach allowed her to make quick rebounds and launch the ball across the court, speeding up the pace of the Mercury's offensive transitions.
The Stars had a difficult time trying to match Phoenix's energy on defense, and the task seemed only to grow harder in the second half.
Bonner cranked up the volume in the second half hitting three three-pointers, that helped give Phoenix a double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter.
As the Mercury began to run away with the game, Lindsey Harding, began to take the reins late in the game. She followed in Bonner's footsteps sinking shots inside the arch and out, collecting 12 points in total, half of which were scored in the final minutes of the matchup.
Now that Phoenix is off of their losing streak in which they struggled through earlier this season, they can move on with confidence. They now prepare to face Elena Delle Donne and the Chicago Sky for their matchup Tuesday night at the Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix.