PHOENIX (AP) — Brittney Griner had 13 points, eight rebounds and a season-high seven blocks as the Phoenix Mercury continued their hot shooting in an 86-55 rout over the Western Conference-leading Tulsa Shock on Thursday night.
Candice Dupree scored 16 points, and Monique Currie and DeWanna Bonner chipped in 11 each for the Mercury, who scored their most points of the season in front of 8,996 at US Airways Center.
“It was good. On the defensive end we were really good and we were able to run out of it, we were able to get a lot of fast break points tonight,” Griner said. “Our bench did a great job, coming in and contributing. That helped us out; we were able to put people on the bench, get rest for a long season. It was really good night overall for everybody.”
Phoenix (5-5) led by as many as 33 points, and finished shooting 55.6 percent from the field. The Mercury shot 59.6 percent against San Antonio on June 30, the highest in a WNBA game this season. Griner led all players with 23 points and eight rebounds in the 85-78 win over the Stars.
One potential distraction for Griner and the Mercury was avoided. Shock forward Glory Johnson is out for the season due to pregnancy and did not travel to Phoenix. It was Griner’s third game back since serving a seven-game suspension for a domestic violence incident involving Johnson.
Griner scored five points as the Mercury closed the first quarter on a 15-2 run. Jordan Hooper drained a 25-foot 3 to pull the Shock within 41-28 with 1:55 to play in the second quarter. The Mercury answered with a 6-0 surge to take a 47-29 halftime lead and cruised from there.
“Each game we’re getting in a better groove. Figuring out each other, coming off screens, passing the ball to me, (I am) finding them on the double, taking our time. We’re starting to get more into that groove,” Griner said.
Tulsa (8-3) has lost consecutive games since a team record-tying eight-game winning streak. Karima Christmas led the Shock with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Riquna Williams, who scored 23 points in the loss to Seattle on June 30, was held to seven points.
“I was just trying to stay aggressive. Start aggressive and stay aggressive and just try to bring some type of energy to my team. It was a tough game out there, but it’s all about effort, so I tried to go out there and do the best I could,” Christmas said.
Tulsa entered averaging 81 points a game, but were held to nine points in the first quarter and seven points in the third as they continue to struggle without their leading scorer, Skylar Diggins, who is out for the season after tearing an ACL on June 28. Shock guard Odyssey Sims also hasn’t played since June 9 due to a left knee injury.
“Phoenix came out on us. They shot well and pretty much did whatever they wanted to do tonight. They were on rhythm and for us, we just did not have a good start in that first quarter; dug ourselves in a hole and were trying to heal the whole time,” Shock coach Fred Williams said.
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