PHOENIX — The Phoenix Mercury used a huge second quarter run and stifling defense to win a franchise record eighth straight game.
Penny Taylor had 14 points to lead a balanced offense and the Mercury scored 19 straight points to rout Seattle 78-58 on Wednesday.
The Mercury (14-3) outscored the Storm 21-4 in the second quarter, including the 19-point run that finally ended on a Camille Little jumper with 28.8 seconds to go until halftime. The four points allowed in a quarter tied a Mercury franchise record low.
“That’s something that we put our hat on all season long, is to play good defense, and I thought that the activity and the pressure that we had there just took them out of the game,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said.
Griner added 13 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five assists.
“We are rolling now,” Griner said. “In the beginning, we were just trying to find our groove, find our identity. Definitely found it. Now were just building on it every game.”
The Storm (8-13) went more than seven minutes between baskets in the second quarter. Seattle led 14-8 in the first quarter after a Crystal Langhorne jumper, part of her eight points in the quarter. But the Mercury tied it at 16 just before the end of the first, then took over in the second.
Storm coach Brian Agler was whistled for a technical foul at the 2:30 mark for arguing too long with an official, but by then his team trailed by 12.
“They started forcing us to get turnovers, we didn’t execute and turned the ball over and when a team is that talented offensively, you cant let them get in transition,” Langhorne said.
The Mercury continued to roll on offense, taking a 53-23 lead with 5:42 to play in the third quarter on a layup, foul and free throw from Taylor. Phoenix outscored Seattle 26-16 in the third and pulled its starters before the quarter ended.
The Phoenix starting lineup combination of Griner, Taurasi, Taylor, DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree is 8-0 this season. Taurasi added 11 points Dupree 10.
The Mercury has won all three meetings against the Storm in 2014, all at home. Seattle set a season low for points in a period and its 20 turnovers was a season worst total.
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