Mercury win 5th straight, knock off host Liberty
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.
After staying down for a few minutes, Griner was helped to the locker room by two teammates.
WE in New York baby, I mean we at Barclay's this is LIT 🔥 – @SkyDigg4FEATURED STORIES
Hear from Skylar after dropping 27 PTS, 3 REB and 5 AST 💪 pic.twitter.com/7jOs21yZdm
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 26, 2021
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.
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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