By Scott Mammoser
PHOENIX – The ‘Big Three’ of the Phoenix Mercury were in top form, as Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner combined for 58 of the team’s points in its 72-66 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday. Taurasi scored 25, Bonner 14 and Griner 19 to go along with 15 rebounds and seven blocks.
The Mercury went up by as many as 15 in the third quarter, but the Aces cut the lead to four points in the closing minutes. Kelsey Plum drove to the rim, and Griner made the play of the game with a block that prohibited the one-possession contest and swung around the momentum.
“I was just trying to keep them from scoring,” Griner said. “Blocking the shot, keeping them from scoring, and giving us another possession pumped me up to try to get another one.”
It was the sixth-consecutive win for Phoenix (7-3), its longest such streak since its 2014 championship season. In addition, it won its first-ever match-up with the newly-formed Aces (1-7) and extended a winning streak over the franchise to nine games, dating back to their time as the San Antonio Stars.
“The ball didn’t move enough between people’s hands,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “But we won the game, and that’s the important part. I wish we out-rebounded our opponents every single game (49-40), but when we need to we do.”
A’ja Wilson, the No. 1 overall draft pick and NCAA Player of the Year, led the Aces with 17 points, Kayla McBride scored 16, and Plum added 12. JiSu Park, the 19-year-old Korean rookie center, grabbed 11 rebounds for Las Vegas, as well.
“I think it went pretty well,” Wilson said of her first game against Griner. “She’s hard of course with her length. I think I did it pretty decently, but of course, we didn’t get the outcome we wanted. But I think, as a team, I give it all to JiSu Park. She’s 19 years old, and I think she held her ground with her.”
Following a game at Dallas at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the Mercury returns home at 7 p.m. on Saturday to face the first place Connecticut Sun (7-1). The Aces will be at win-less Indiana on Tuesday.