Mercury win 5th straight, knock off host Liberty | Inquirer Sports
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Mercury win 5th straight, knock off host Liberty

/ 11:21 AM August 26, 2021
Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 25: Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury drives to the basket against Kylee Shook #24 and Michaela Onyenwere #12 of the New York Liberty during the second half at Barclays Center on August 25, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Mercury won 106-79. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Brittney Griner collected 26 points and nine rebounds before injuring an ankle in the final minutes as the Phoenix Mercury seized control early and survived a late charge to extend their winning streak to five games with a 106-79 rout of the New York Liberty in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Wednesday night.

Griner was injured when she defended a shot by New York’s Didi Richards with 1:38 remaining. Richards missed the shot, and Griner was hurt while jostling for the rebound and fell on Richards’ foot.

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After staying down for a few minutes, Griner was helped to the locker room by two teammates.

Griner’s injury marred an otherwise outstanding showing for Phoenix (14-10), which closed out its ninth win in 12 games by scoring the final 17 points over the final four-plus minutes.

Griner went 11 of 17 from the field as the Mercury shot 56.6 percent overall. Phoenix’s Skylar Diggins-Smith led all scorers with 27 points by hitting 10 of 16 shots, including four 3-pointers.

Diana Taurasi contributed 21 and nine assists for the Mercury.

Betnijah Laney scored 20 points and Richards added 14, but the Liberty (11-15) lost for the fourth time in five games since the Olympic break.

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New York shot 37.8 percent overall, missed 23 of 36 3-pointers and received subpar performances from Rebecca Allen, Sabrina Ionescu and Natasha Howard, who were a combined 9-of-40 from the field.

New York ended the third with an 18-6 run to get within 82-69 and were within 89-79 on a jumper by Laney with 4:43 left in the game before Phoenix surged ahead again.

Diggins-Smith scored 12 and combined with Griner to shoot 8 of 8 from the floor as the Mercury made 15 of 20 shots, including all 13 tries inside the 3-point line and held a 35-19 lead after the opening quarter.

New York scored the first seven points of the second to get within 35-26 on a jumper by Laney with 8:13 remaining.

Phoenix countered by taking a 48-33 lead on Griner’s reverse layup with 3:34 left, but Howard’s 3-pointer made it 48-38 with 2 1/2 minutes left before the Mercury held a 55-42 lead at halftime.

–Field Level Media

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TAGS: Brittney Griner, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, WNBA
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