PHOENIX MERCURY

Natasha Cloud tops former team as Mercury drop Mystics

May 23, 2024, 9:37 PM | Updated: May 24, 2024, 8:30 am

PHOENIX (AP) — Kahleah Copper and Diana Taurasi scored 20 points each and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Washington Mystics 83-80 on Thursday night.

Natasha Cloud added 14 points and 10 assists and Sophie Cunningham scored 13 for the Mercury (3-1).

Phoenix, which made 16 3-pointers on Tuesday in a 98-88 win over the defending champion Las Vegas Aces, has won three games in a row. The Mercury lost their season opener, 89-80 to Las Vegas, and have responded with their longest win streak since June 2022.

Ariel Atkins had 16 points to lead Washington (0-5), which has lost five consecutive games to open the season for the first time since the 2007 team started 0-8. Julie Vanloo scored 13 and Shakira Austin and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 11 points apiece.

After Austin hit two free throws that gave Washington a 46-45 lead with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter, Taurasi was fouled as she made a layup and hit the free throw before she hit a 3-pointer to spark a 15-0 Phoenix run.

Cloud found Natasha Mack for a short jumper, made 4 of 4 from the free-throw line and then set up a 3-pointer by Cunningham that capped the run and gave the Mercury a 60-46 lead.

Walker-Kimbrough hit a 3-pointer to end the Mystics’ scoring drought of five-plus minutes. It was Washington’s first field goal since Stefanie Dolson hit a 3-pointer 14 seconds into the second half.

Brittney Griner (foot) did not play for the Mercury.

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