BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 28 points and Diana Taurasi added 27, matching her career high with eight 3-pointers, to help the Phoenix Mercury clinch a playoff spot with a 105-81 win over the Indiana Fever on Thursday night.
Taurasi, who made seven 3-pointers in a win over Las Vegas on Tuesday, was 8 of 13 from distance – narrowly missing the WNBA record of nine held by Kristi Toliver and Kelsey Mitchell. The Mercury (11-7), who played just seven players, won their fifth straight.
Phoenix scored the first 10 points of the game, getting scoring from four of its five starters. The Mercury led 35-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 63.6% from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Phoenix cooled down in the second quarter but still led 54-46 at the break behind 15 points, and four 3-pointers, from Taurasi. Phoenix opened the third quarter on a 15-3 spurt.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 16 points for Indiana (5-13).
A’ja Wilson scored 24 points, and Jackie Young and Dearica Hamby each had 20 points to help the Aces beat the shorthanded Sun.
The Aces (13-4) are tied with Los Angeles for second place in the standings, one game behind Seattle, with five games to play.
Kayla McBride added 14 points and Angel McCoughtry scored 11 for Las Vegas. Young had 15 points and five assists off the bench in the first half to help Las Vegas build a 43-36 lead.
DeWanna Bonner led Connecticut (8-10) with 22 points. She scored 15 of Connecticut’s 36 first-half points.
Connecticut was without two starters, both averaging double-figure scoring. Alyssa Thomas, 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds, did not play due to an injured hand and Jasmine Thomas, 11.5 ppg, because of plantar fasciitis. The last time Alyssa Thomas missed a game was July 7, 2018, and it was May 20, 2017 when they both missed a contest together.
Courtney Williams had 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Dream beat the Liberty to sweep the season series.
Betnijah Laney added 13 points and six rebounds for Atlanta (5-13), which has won two straight games. Monique Billings grabbed 12 rebounds and Elizabeth Williams had eight points, eight boards and six blocks.
Both teams shot below 33% from the field, combining for eight 3-pointers on 53 attempts.
Leaonna Odom and Kia Nurse each scored 12 points for New York (2-15), which has lost 10 of its last 11 games. Amanda Zahui B grabbed 11 rebounds and Kiah Stokes had 10 boards.