Bird scores 31, Storm beats Mercury 83-68

SEATTLE — Sue Bird scored 31 points and the Seattle Storm earned an 83-68 win over the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday.

Camille Little added 18 and Ewelina Kobryn scored 10 for the Storm (8-9).

DeWanna Bonner led Phoenix (4-13) with 12 points and Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 11.

Bird’s run began in the first quarter when she scored 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting, outscoring Phoenix 13-12.

A pull-up 15-footer on the break and three 3-pointers were among her field goals during the quarter, helping Seattle increase its lead to 22-12 by the end of the quarter.

Bird scored 13 more in the second quarter though she recorded her only two missed shots — a free throw, and a 3-pointer at the end of the quarter. She closed the half 9-for-10 from the field for 26 points, and added two rebounds and two assists.

A third-quarter 3-pointer pushed Bird to 29 points, her most since her career-high 33 points set her rookie season in 2002. Two free throws upped her total to 31. She sat most of the fourth quarter and did not attempt a shot in the second half with Seattle well ahead.

The Storm opened the game on a 12-0 run that forced a Phoenix timeout. Bird scored 10 points during the stretch, which ended when Bonner hit a baseline jumper. An elbow jumper from Kobryn pushed Seattle in front 17-4. The Storm never trailed.

Phoenix has been hurt by injuries. Penny Taylor has been out for the year because of a torn ACL, Olympian Diana Taurasi did not travel with the team because of a strained left hip flexor, and Candace Dupree did not play because of a knee contusion.

Without their three top players, the Mercury shot 27.6 percent in the first half and 32.8 percent for the game.

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