Phoenix Mercury fall to Mystics with Diana Taurasi sidelined

Jul 23, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: 12:31 pm

Phoenix Mercury...

Tianna Hawkins #21 of the Washington Mystics is fouled by Michaela Onyenwere #12 of the Phoenix Mercury on June 16, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Natasha Cloud scored 23 points and had nine assists, Brittney Sykes also scored 23 points and the short-handed Washington Mystics beat Phoenix 84-69 Sunday, extending the Mercury’s road losing streak to seven games.

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 13 points for Washington (12-10).

Phoenix (6-16), which is 1-10 away from home this season, has the longest active road losing streak in the WNBA. The Mercury had won back-to-back games (for the first time this season) and three of their last four.

Diana Taurasi (quad/toe) missed her second consecutive game for Phoenix.

Two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne (left ankle sprain), Shakira Austin (left hip strain), Ariel Atkins (left ankle sprain) — all regular starters who combine to account for approximately 40% of Washington’s scoring this season — and Kristi Tolliver (plantar fasciitis) did not play for the Mystics.

Sykes made a driving basket with 4:52 left in the first quarter that gave the Mystics the lead for good and sparked an 8-0 run, capped when Tianna Hawkins scored to make it 17-10. Sophie Cunningham hit a 3-pointer that trimmed the Mercury’s deficit to 30-28 midway through the second quarter but Cloud and Walker-Kimbrough each scored five points in a 10-1 over the next three minutes and the Mystics led by double figures the rest of the way.

Washington scored 22 points off 19 Mercury turnovers. Phoenix went into to the game averaging a league-high 17.3 turnovers per game this season — 1.8 more than any other team.

Cloud scored 19 of her points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half as the Mystics took a 46-31 lead into the break.

Cunningham hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting for Phoenix. Brittney Griner and Megan Gustafson each scored 12 points and Moriah Jefferson 11.

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