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Mercury fall to Sun in first game of Griner suspension

Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello shouts during the first half of the team's WNBA basketball game against the Las Vegas Aces, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

PHOENIX — Jasmine Thomas scored 18 points and the Connecticut Sun held off the short-handed Phoenix Mercury 78-71 on Wednesday night after giving up almost all of a 20-point lead.

After the Mercury, playing without the league’s leading scorer Brittney Griner, pulled within 69-66 midway through the fourth quarter, Thomas sandwiched a pair of layups around a basket by Jonquel Jones to stop the rally.

Shekinna Stricklin followed up a pair of Courtney Williams baskets with a 3-pointer that pushed the Connecticut lead to 58-38 at the 6:50 mark of the third quarter. Without Griner, who was serving the first game of a three-game suspension because of a fight in a game last Saturday, battled back. The Sun missed 17 of 20 shots beginning late in the third quarter and the Mercury turned a 10-0 run into a 15-1 surge to make it a game.

Jones finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Courtney Williams had 12 points and Bria Holmes and Alyssa Thomas had 11 each for Connecticut.

The Sun (17-8) remain in second place after ending a two-game losing streak while Phoenix (11-13) has lost three straight and five of six while holding down the eighth and final playoff spot.

DeWanna Bonner led the Mercury with 17 points and Yvonne Turner had 15.


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