With Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor not playing due to rest, the Mercury wasn't able to stop a hot-shooting Dream team on the second night of a back-to-back on the road falling 96-82 to Atlanta Wednesday night.
"We've had a real busy schedule," Sandy Brondello said after the game on resting Taurasi and Taylor. "We wouldn't have rested them if we didn't have the No. 1 overall seed. Nothing is wrong with either of them, just getting rest when we can.
"It was good for others who don't get opportunities to play a bit tonight."
The Mercury is now 27-5 on the season and remains just one win shy of tying the WNBA single season record of 28 victories with two games to go (home against the Sparks on Saturday, away against the Storm on Sunday). Phoenix wrapped up home court advantage in the playoffs as well as the best record in the WNBA after they beat the Liberty in New York on Tuesday.
Erin Phillips led Phoenix with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Shay Murphy added 11 points and a game-high seven assists. Mistie Bass had 10.
Phoenix was up 26-18 after the first, but a 37-point second quarter from Atlanta (including 20 from Shoni Schimmel alone) was too much of a lead for the Mercury to overcome in spite of coming back to outscore Atlanta 28-16 in the fourth quarter.
The Dream shot 32 free throws compared to the Mercury's 19.
The Mercury heads back to Phoenix to face the Sparks on Saturday, August 16 on "Fan Appreciation Night."
Tiffany Bias played the most minutes of her rookie season (18) and scored five points while doing a solid job on the defensive end. Loggings those minutes should be valuable for Bias down the stretch.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Erin Phillips tied a career high with 21 points while hitting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in 27 minutes.
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
32 - the number of free throws shot by the Dream who made 27 of them.