Diana Taurasi scored 30 points and Skylar Diggins-Smith added 27 as the Phoenix Mercury notched a 90-80 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.
Taurasi made five 3-pointers and collected six rebounds while recording her third 30-point effort of the season to help Phoenix (13-16) move into sixth place.
Diggins-Smith also had six assists and five rebounds before drawing two technical fouls for disputing a call and being ejected with 7:48 remaining.
Chennedy Carter came off the bench to score a season-best 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting for Los Angeles (12-16), which fell into a tie for seventh place with the Dallas Wings. Nneka Ogwumike had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while Kristi Toliver and Jordin Canada added 10 points apiece.
Shey Peddy added 12 points for Phoenix, which shot 50 percent from the field, including 9 of 25 from 3-point range, while completing a 3-1 homestand.
Los Angeles made 40.3 percent of its shot attempts and was a dismal 3 of 21 from behind the arc.
The Sparks trailed by 27 midway through the third quarter but rallied within 73-62 on Canada’s 3-pointer with 8:59 remaining.
Taurasi hit two 3-pointers during a 9-4 run as the Mercury took an 82-66 advantage with 6:59 left. But Los Angeles scored eight of the next 10 points to pull within 10 with 3:10 remaining but was unable to get within single digits.
Diggins-Smith scored 21 first-half points and Taurasi tallied 15 as the Mercury opened up a 54-32 lead.
Phoenix led 26-17 after the opening quarter and increased the advantage to 42-22 on a layup by Diggins-Smith with 4:22 left in the half. Megan Gustafson drained a 3-pointer to make it a 25-point margin with 1:36 left before the Mercury settled for the 22-point lead at the break.
Two 3-pointers by Sophie Cunningham and one by Taurasi during a 9-2 spurt pushed Phoenix’s lead to 65-38 with 5:39 left in the third quarter.
Carter converted a three-point play with 1.9 seconds left in the third to pull the Sparks within 71-54. Los Angeles then scored the first five points of the final stanza to move within 12.
–Field Level Media