PHOENIX — The Phoenix Mercury used a 19-0 second-quarter run and stifling defense to beat the Seattle Storm 78-58 in WNBA action Wednesday.
The Mercury (14-3) won their franchise record eighth straight game.
“(Phoenix has) gotten healthy and they are a lot deeper,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “They are playing much harder defensively and have got a lot of offensive weapons. They’re the best team in the league right now.”
The Mercury outscored the Storm 21-4 in the second quarter, including the 19-point run that finally ended with a jumper by Seattle’s Camille Little with 28.8 seconds remaining before halftime. The four points allowed in a quarter tied a Mercury franchise record.
Penny Taylor had 14 points to lead a balanced Phoenix attack. Brittney Griner, the Mercury’s 6-foot-8 center, added 13 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five assists.
“I felt like we did a pretty good job with (Griner) in the first half,” Agler said. “It has been a similar track record the three times we’ve played Phoenix (this season) — two-point ball game going into the second quarter and then they separate. I don’t think (Griner) had much to do with that separation in the second quarter, but she played much better in the second half.”
The Storm (8-13) went more than seven minutes between baskets in the second quarter. Seattle led 14-8 in the first quarter after a Crystal Langhorne jumper, two of her eight points in the quarter. But the Mercury tied the game at 16 just before the end of the first quarter, then took over in the second.
Seattle set a season low for points in a period, and committed a season-worst 20 turnovers.
“They started forcing us (into) turnovers,” Langhorne said. “We didn’t execute and turned the ball over, and when a team is that talented offensively, you can’t let them get in transition.”
Angel Robinson led the Storm in scoring with a career-high 10 points. Langhorne added nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.