Copper scores career-high 38 points in Mercury home-opening win over Dream

May 18, 2024, 9:56 PM | Updated: May 20, 2024, 7:50 am

Kahleah Copper...

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 09: Kahleah Copper #2 of the Phoenix Mercury poses for a portrait during media day at Footprint Center on May 09, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX (AP) — Kahleah Copper scored a career-high 38 points and combined with Sophie Cunningham for the last 16 points as the Phoenix Mercury recovered after losing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to beat the Atlanta Dream 88-85 on Saturday night.

Cheyenne Parker-Tyus had 11 points and Allisha Gray 10 in the fourth quarter as the Dream, down 70-60 with 8:43 to play, charged back to lead 81-74 at the 4:11 mark. A layup by Parker-Tyus produced Atlanta’s first lead of the game at 73-72.

Cunningham answered with a 3-pointer and Copper’s four free throws pulled the Mercury within 83-81 with 1 1/2 minutes to play. Following an offensive foul on Tina Charles, Copper found Cunningham on the left side for a 3-pointer and the lead with 1:11 to play. Natasha Cloud then blocked a Rhyne Howard attempt and Copper converted that into a layup for an 86-83 lead at 28.1 seconds.

Parker-Tyus made it a one-point game again but Copper answered and Howard missed a a 3-point try for the tie.

Diana Taurasi had 15 points and Cunningham 10 for the Mercury (1-1), who gave Nate Tibbetts his first win in the WNBA.

Gray finished with 22 points, Howard had 21 and Parker-Tyus 18 for the Dream (1-1)

Phoenix led from the outset, scoring the first seven points and leading 24-15 after one quarter and 43-37 at the half.

Copper and Taurasi combined for 23 points but Howard kept the Dream in it with 17, going 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Atlanta closed the third quarter with a 7-2 run to clip another point off the Phoenix lead and trailed 65-60 going into the fourth quarter, despite Copper scoring 16 of the 22 Mercury points.

At halftime the Mercury unveiled banners for their Ring of Honor members: first coach and general manager Cheryl Miller and players Penny Taylor, Bridget Pettis, Jennifer Gillom and Michele Timms. Four were inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame in 2006 while Taylor, who along with Taurasi played on all three Mercury championship teams, was inducted in 2017.

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Copper scores career-high 38 points in Mercury home-opening win over Dream