PHOENIX (AP) - Penny Taylor scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half as the Phoenix Mercury built a big halftime lead and routed Tulsa 102-63 on Sunday in Teresa Edwards' debut as interim coach.
Edwards took over from Nolan Richardson, who resigned after the Shock's loss to Phoenix on Friday night that gave Tulsa a WNBA-worst 1-10 record on the season.
``It's tough, but you can't use that as an excuse,' said Edwards, who was the team's director of player personnel. ``I really thought we made a stepping stone today just trying to adjust and come in here and making a few adjustments and carrying it over to the game.'
Diana Taurasi added 12 points and six assists for Phoenix (8-4), which has won four straight and eight of its last nine to move into first place in the Western Conference by percentage points. The rout was on early in this one as the Mercury made their first 11 shots - a WNBA record to start a game - and built a 32-point halftime lead.
Edwards, who is set to be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame after a 20-year career in which she won four Olympic gold medals, was a player-coach for the Atlanta Glory of the women's American Basketball League in 1996-98.
She took over in Tulsa for Richardson, who had coached the Shock since the team moved to Oklahoma from Detroit after the 2009 season. He was 7-38 with the Shock after losing to Phoenix 86-78 in Tulsa on Friday and then resigning by ``mutual decision,' he told the Tulsa World on Saturday.
Tiffany Jackson led the Shock (1-11) with 19 points, and rookie Elizabeth Cambage added 15 points.
``We're excited, it feels like a fresh start, a new start,' Jackson said. ``We probably didn't start out like we wanted to, but we know Coach Edwards is really going to get after us. We're learning from the best, so we are excited about it.'
Phoenix jumped out to a 26-5 lead in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game. Taylor had 11 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in the first eight minutes and the Mercury led 60-28 at the break.
``I just told them to be patient and get the shots they want to get,' Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said. ``They were patient and really moved the ball around.'
The Shock, the worst shooting team in the league, missed 15 of their 19 shots in the first quarter and made only one basket outside the lane in the first half. Tulsa settled down to shoot 41 percent in the second half.
``I think we were pretty focused,' said rookie Kayla Pedersen, who added 11 points and seven rebounds. ``It's a new start, it's a new day and we really wanted to close that chapter from before.'
Phoenix, which made 37 of 61 on the day, led by as much as 94-49 with 6:46 remaining. The most lopsided game in WNBA history is Seattle's 111-65 win over Tulsa on July 7, 2010.
All 10 Mercury players available to play on Sunday scored by halftime.
``It was a good win for us,' Taylor said. ``We had a chance to work on some things. Obviously they are in a tough moment, so it was important to come out and be aggressive. You always know that when a team changes coach, they come out hard and aggressive. So we jumped on them from the start and that was a good test for us.'
The Associated Press News Service
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