SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The San Antonio Silver Stars appear to have found their groove just in time.
Jia Perkins scored 23 points and Becky Hammon had 16 to lead the San Antonio Silver Stars to an 86-68 victory over the Phoenix Mercury on Thursday night. Danielle Robinson added 15 points and seven assists and Danielle Adams scored 10 points to help the Silver Stars (15-15) win their second straight after a six-game losing streak.
San Antonio took a two-game lead over Los Angeles for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games to play.
``We know that our backs are against the walls, so we're going to come out throwing blows and not go down easy,' Perkins said. ``We came out here and played hard and had fun, and we ended up with a win.'
DeWanna Bonner scored 23 points and Diana Taurasi added 18 for the Mercury (17-13), who could have clinched a playoff spot with a win.
San Antonio outscored Phoenix 44-26 in the second and third quarters and led by as 26 points in the fourth quarter.
The Silver Stars held Phoenix to 3-of-11 shooting in the third quarter to take a 64-47 lead going into the fourth. Perkins scored nine points in the quarter for the Silver Stars, who hit 10 of 19 shots.
``They shot the ball well and they played a great game,' Bonner said. We just have to get ready for the next game as we can't just sit here and dwell on it. But overall, they played a great game and they hit some big shots when they needed to.'
The Silver Stars led 42-36 at halftime, holding the Mercury to 8-of-30 shooting to start the game. San Antonio went on a 17-0 run in the second quarter, capped by Scholanda Robinson's 3-pointer, to take a 40-24 lead.
Phoenix then went on a 7-0 run to narrow the gap despite Taurasi being on the bench with three fouls. Taurasi didn't play the final 6:47 of the half.
The Mercury hit 17 of 17 free throws in the first two quarters, led by Taurasi, who went 10 for 10. Taurasi put Phoenix up 24-23 with three free throws - capitalizing on being fouled on a 3-point shot for the second time in the game - before San Antonio's big run.
Bonner was starting in place of Penny Taylor, Phoenix's second-leading scorer who missed her second straight game with back spasms.
Danielle Robinson had five steals and Hammon had four for the Silver Stars. The Mercury, who were playing the final game of a four-game road trip, committed 21 turnovers.
``When we can force turnovers, force the action, we get really good shots down at the other end,' Hammon said.. ``It's really important for us to be on-point defensively.'
San Antonio won three of five against Phoenix during the regular season. Sophia Young, the Silvers Stars' second-leading scorer, had only four points.
The Mercury led 21-20 after the first quarter, hitting all 12 of their free throws to offset 4-of-16 shooting from the field. Taurasi led Phoenix with 10 points, going 7 of 7 from the free-throw line, and Bonner scored seven points.
Hammon had five points and Danielle Robinson had four points and five rebounds in the quarter for San Antonio.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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