Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 26 points and Diana Taurasi added 18, seven in a dominating fourth quarter, as the visiting Phoenix Mercury defeated the Dallas Wings 83-72 on Saturday in Arlington, Texas, to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Mercury (7-12) roared back from a double-digit, first-quarter deficit to take a three-point lead heading into the fourth period. Taurasi’s scoring kept Dallas at bay and the Phoenix defense clamped down on the Wings for the win.
The Mercury announced earlier Saturday to part ways with Tina Charles, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2012 and scoring champion last season. Charles was Phoenix’s second-leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 boards in 16 games.
Charles’ release left Phoenix with just eight available players for the game. Diamond DeShields had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Sophie Cunningham added 14 points for the Mercury.
Arike Ogunbowale led Dallas with 25 points while Isabelle Harrison scored 15 for the Wings (9-10), who lost for the second time in their past three games. Dallas shot just 10 of 21 from the free-throw line, a season-low 47.6 percent.
Dallas swept to the lead with an 8-0 run and eventually led 23-13 after one period of play.
Phoenix roared back using a 13-2 run over the final 2:32 of the second quarter to get within 45-44 at the break.
Harrison and Ogunbowale scored 11 points each to pace Dallas over the first 20 minutes, in which the Wings outshot Phoenix 51.5 percent to 41 percent.
Three Phoenix players scored in double figures in the half, led by Diggins-Smith’s 13 points and Cunningham and DeShields adding 12 each. The Mercury earned a 21-17 edge on the boards in the half and had seven on the offensive glass.
Phoenix swept back to the lead by outscoring the Wings 20-16 in the third quarter despite missing six of its first seven shots, and went to the final period up 64-61.
Dallas was without Allisha Gray, who suffered an ankle injury in Thursday’s game against Indiana. The Wings have also been without Satou Sabally, who has now missed six games with a bruised right knee.
–Field Level Media