Mercury Rout Sky, Win Sixth Straight

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: July 2, 2014

It was another record-setting night as the Mercury routed the Sky, 87-69, Wednesday evening

Diana Taurasi moved into second place on the WNBA's all-time scoring list, passing Katie Smith (6,452), with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. Perhaps more amazing, she did so in just 316 career games. Taurasi finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists on the night.

Not to be outdone, Candice Dupree had her best outing of the season scoring a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds. She also surpassed the 4,000-point plateau and became just the 22nd player in league history to reach the mark.

Finally, with a 12-3 record, first-year head coach Sandy Brondello helped the Mercury to their best 15-game start in franchise history. Her 12-3 start also matches John Whisenant, Nancy Darsch and Candi Harvey for the second-best start to a head coaching tenure in WNBA history.

"These are the teams that you love to play on," Taurasi said after the game. "Everyone contributes, everyone looks good, and at the end of the day you feel a part of something bigger than you just going out and scoring points. Any given starter can be a leading scorer and that's what's pretty cool about this team right now. We don't care who it is, we just want to win."

Phoenix won its season-high sixth consecutive game, the longest active streak in the league and the team's longest since July 1 - 15, 2011. Additionally, the Mercury won by double digits at home for the sixth time this season, including five-straight. Phoenix has outscored opponents by a total of 94 points in seven home games this season for an average differential of +13.4 points.

Still, reaching No. 2 on the WNBA's all-time scoring list is a major accomplishment in and of itself.

"She's the best player in the world," Sandy Brondello added. "She's just amazing. Her will to win is the best I've ever seen of anybody. She can put a team on her back and take over a game. Obviously, she can score. She's [now] the second best in history. But she distributes the ball just as good as any point guard. Sometimes, I just sit back and I just applaud."

For Taurasi, she would much rather talk about the company she is now in as opposed to discussing individual accolades.

"I mean, it's pretty cool to pass Katie [Smith], who obviously is one of the greatest to touch a basketball in our generation," Taurasi said. "To share that list with her, and obviously Tina [Thompson]'s going to be pretty much impossible to catch, it's pretty cool."

The Mercury next faces the Sparks in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 6 at 1:00 p.m. on ESPN2.

POSTGAME REPORT

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Candice Dupree reached the 4,000 career-point plateau, becoming the 22nd player in league history, 12th active, and third on the current Mercury roster to do so. Dupree scored a season-high tying 26 points and grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.

STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT

9 - The number of games over .500 the Mercury is, the most since the end of the 2009 championship regular season (23-11).

TWEET OF THE NIGHT