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Mercury survive for tight win over Dream

May 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; A general view of the game ball during the preseason WNBA game between the New York Liberty and the China National Team at Barclays Center.  Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Diana Taurasi scored 23 points to lead five Phoenix players in double figures and the host Mercury held off the Atlanta Dream 90-88 on Friday night.

Tina Charles, returning from a two-game absence caused by a shoulder injury, added 20 points and nine rebounds as the Mercury (4-8) won their second straight after a seven-game losing streak. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 18 for Phoenix, and Diamond DeShields and Shey Peddy scored 10 each.

Rhyne Howard scored 25, Cheyenne Parker had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Aari McDonald contributed 13 points for the Dream (7-6). Atlanta lost for the third time in four games.

Peddy scored five points during a 7-0 run that started the fourth quarter and gave the Mercury a 68-56 lead.

AD Durr, making her Dream debut after being acquired in a trade with New York on Wednesday, hit a jumper to end Atlanta’s drought, but Diggins-Smith’s three-point play and Charles’ 3-pointer pushed the lead to 74-60.

The Dream got within four points before Taurasi converted a three-point play with 1:27 remaining. Atlanta pulled within four again, but Diggins-Smith responded with a 3-pointer with 1:10 left.

A free throw by McDonald and a 3-pointer by Parker sliced the deficit to 89-86 with 55 seconds left.

After a Taurasi miss, Howard missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the score, but Parker’s put-back cut the lead to one with 9.9 seconds remaining.

Taurasi made one of two free throws with eight seconds left, and Parker missed a jumper as time expired.

Nia Coffee scored the Dream’s first six points of the third quarter as the visitors took a 42-41 lead.

The Mercury regained the lead at 46-44 on Taurasi’s 3-pointer and increased the lead to six twice.

Kristy Wallace’s 3-pointer cut the gap to three before DeShields made two free throws to give Phoenix a 61-56 edge at the end of the third quarter.

Taurasi converted a four-point play to complete a 7-0 run that gave Phoenix an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Mercury led by 11 before settling for a 38-36 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media