Taurasi helps Mercury beat Shock, 100-78
PHOENIX (AP) Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury looked like the high-flying team that has been in the WNBA Western Conference finals four of the last five years.
''Today we were sharp,'' said Taurasi, who led the Mercury with 16 points in a 100-78 victory over the Tulsa Shock on Friday night. ''We had a good four or five days of working on things that we left on the wayside against San Antonio.''
The Mercury's 78-74 setback to San Antonio on May 23 is the only loss four games into the season.
''It took us a little bit but we figured it out and we had some people come up big tonight,'' Taurasi added.
Offseason acquisition Erin Phillips added 15 points - after scoring a total of 17 in the first three games combined - to help the Mercury beat the a Shock.
Brittney Griner added 14 points, five rebounds and four blocked shots for Phoenix.
Riquna Williams had 27 points off the bench for Tulsa (0-4).
Skylar Diggins had 20 points and four assists for Tulsa after being held to two points in the first 17 1/2 minutes of the game.
First-year Mercury coach Sandy Brondello echoed her star's comments about taking advantage of the weeklong gap in the schedule.
''We had good practice week, we put it into action tonight, that's the way we really want to play,'' Brondello said. ''Some days are going to be a little harder than that, obviously. Tulsa is a good team. I'm sure the next game will be closer.''
Phillips, acquired in a trade with Indiana, hadn't found her scoring touch in the first two weeks of the season but on Friday made 5-of-7 from the field, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
''I think for me, the first few games I was playing a bit too much like a point guard, trying to get other people involved, rather than looking for my shot,'' she said.
The Mercury started the second quarter on an 18-2 run to break open a close game, taking a 40-21 lead with 3:54 left in the first half.
Phoenix hit its first four shots of the period and made eight straight free throws during the run.
The Mercury were 16 of 20 from the foul line in the first half. Tulsa did not attempt a free throw until four minutes had passed in the second half.
Tulsa coach Fred Williams said the lopsided free throw number did affect his team.
''Mentally, it does, it affects you,'' he said. ''All you can do is keep coaching through it. I have a young team that's really learning a lot of things.''
Tulsa also had to play most of the night without starting rookie guard Odyssey Sims, who played just 10 minutes and did not score. Williams said she was under the weather and he decided to keep her on the bench. Sims was in double figures in the last two Shock games.
Phoenix led 47-36 at the break.
The Mercury started the second half on a 9-2 run to solidify its advantage. The Mercury led by 23 in the quarter and 36 in the fourth.
Tulsa jumped out to a 9-3 lead, but Phoenix's Penny Taylor and Phillips hit 3-pointers late in the period to give Phoenix a 22-19 lead after one.
The Shock were looking for their first win of the season and first since Sept. 8 of last season. They have lost six straight overall.
The Shock had lost its first three games of the season by a total of eight points.
Phoenix beat Tulsa in all four of their meetings last season and is 15-2 with the Shock since they left Detroit.