Rising Mercury visit Atlanta for Dream matchup

The Associated Press

Phoenix steamrolled to the best record in the NBA behind the clutch play of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, and the Mercury will rely heavily on both as they roll into Atlanta for a matchup with the Dream on Sunday afternoon at McCamish Pavilion on the campus of Georgia Tech University.

The Mercury (14-5) head south after an 84-77 home win over the Connecticut Sun on Thursday. Taurasi scored 25 points, Griner added 23 and DeWanna Bonner pitched in 12 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.

Bonner started in place of Sancho Lyttle, who is out for the season with a knee injury, shifting into the post from small forward.

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Taurasi passed Tina Thompson as the league career field goals leader with a basket early in the third quarter. Last season, Taurasi also passed Thompson to become the WNBA career scoring leader, and she also leads in 3-pointers.

"When you lose two key players (Lyttle and Camille Little, out with an ankle injury), you try to stay consistent in what you want to do," Taurasi said. "We slide DB (Bonner) to the four, she has a great game. She's a great player; you put her anywhere on the court.

"Our mindset the whole year is what we can we do being a veteran team, stepping up to the plate in moments like this. Tonight's game showed that."

Little could return Sunday at Atlanta, Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said, and so will 6-foot-5 post Marie Gulich, who has missed three games after a death in her family.

The Dream return to the court after a 95-86 loss on Friday to the Seattle Storm, who with the win moved into a tie with the Mercury for the league's best record. Angel McCoughtry (29 points) and Tiffany Hayes (23) combined for 49 points for Atlanta in the loss, and Brittney Sykes added 12 and Renee Montgomery scored 10 for the Dream (8-9).

The loss to Seattle was the first of seven home games this month for the Dream, who play six of their next nine games at home.

Atlanta's Renee Montgomery scored her 3,000th career point at Minnesota last Friday.

McCoughtry , who sat out the 2017 season to rest her body, now ranks 15th overall among WNBA career scoring leaders at 5,284 career points. She reached 5,000 points the second fastest in league history behind Taurasi.

McCoughtry continues to break records, including setting a high of 39 points in a game against New York on June 19.

Phoenix won the first game between the two teams 78-71 on June 3 in Atlanta as Bonner and Griner each had 20 points and seven rebounds.

The Mercury have won 10 of the last 13 games against the Dream but are 1-2 in the last three meetings on the road against Atlanta.

In 12 all-time meetings between the Mercury and the Dream in Atlanta, they each have won six games.

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