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Recap: Indiana Fever break four-game losing streak, prevail over Phoenix Mercury in close home win

Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is closing in on 10,000 points for her career, but it was Indiana Fever forward Emma Cannon who stole the show on Tuesday, hitting the game-winning shot in a career-best scoring effort.

Phoenix Mercury v Indiana Fever
Indiana Fever forward No. 32 Emma Cannon scored a career-high 23 points to lead her team to a win over the Phoenix Mercury.
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

The Indiana Fever (7-19) broke a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night, holding on to defeat the Phoenix Mercury (6-19) at home, 72-71. Emma Cannon scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Fever, followed by Kelsey Mitchell with 21; Diana Taurasi scored a game-high 29 points for Phoenix in defeat.

Taurasi entered the night on the brink of history, inching ever-closer to the 10,000-point milestone for her career, and the game initially looked like it would be the type of shootout in which the legendary Mercury guard thrives. With star center Brittney Griner taking time away from the Mercury to focus on her mental health, the limelight was all Taurasi’s, and she got off to a hot start, scoring 12 points in a competitive first quarter that the Mercury won 28-27.

The game slowed down considerably after that, however, and the Fever were able to take advantage of the smaller Phoenix frontcourt. Cannon, who got the starting nod in place of Victoria Vivians (illness), played magnificently, grabbing six of the team’s 11 offensive rebounds. Rookie center Aliyah Boston did her usual solid work on the glass, hauling in 11 rebounds (three offensive) to go along with three steals and two blocked shots.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, both teams had cooled off, and though the Mercury used a late 10-0 run to make things interesting, they were unable to deliver a true knockout punch. A tough shot from Cannon in the lane put Indiana up for good. The Mercury got four attempts to take the lead back (two from Taurasi) but came up empty, looking every bit like the team that currently ranks last in the WNBA in offensive efficiency.

Granted, Indiana wasn’t much better — the Fever shot 39.7 percent from the field in the game and turned the ball over 20 times. Nevertheless, the result was a welcome one for the Fever, who have struggled in close games this season; before Tuesday, they were 3-7 in games decided by five points or fewer, with one of those losses coming to Phoenix back on June 11.

The Fever will get an opportunity to establish some momentum this Friday, Aug. 4 against the Connecticut Sun (19-7), while the Mercury will be back at it on Thursday, Aug. 3 against the Atlanta Dream, and with Taurasi just 18 points away from 10,000, it will be one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season.