The Phoenix Mercury (10-4) struck hard and early, never trailing in their Friday night victory over the Washington Mystics, 78-65. The success continues Phoenix's perfect run through July and extends their current win streak to six games.
Candace Dupree led the assault, scoring eight of her 20 points in a dominating first quarter that resulted in a ten point Phoenix lead. It was her fourth 20-point game of the season, and first since July 5th.
"You try to stay at that level every game, but its tough," head coach Corey Gaines said after the game. "Can't be perfect or be at that level every night."
A Jasmine Thomas bank shot narrowed the gap to three with 5:34 left in the third quarter, but Diana Taurasi immediately answered with a layup of her own to kick off an 18-6 run that stretched the lead to 15. The Mystics never again closed the deficit to single digits.
"Sometimes you have to win the ugly games and it was an ugly game," Gaines said. "We got them on the shot clock a couple times, we just couldn't get the rebound afterwards or we'd get the ball and turn it over. It could be worse."
Though, on a night in which she only scored 13 points, Taurasi still found a way to steal the show. With WNBA legend Cheryl Miller singing her praises from courtside, the Phoenix star scored the 5,000th point of her career at the 3:45 mark of the third quarter. Taurasi is the fifth player in WNBA history to reach the milestone. With 243 games under her belt, the 29-year old is also quickest player to do so.
"It's cool," Taurasi said after the game. "I guess it's a lot of hard work and being in that right situation, with the right people around."
Crystal Langhorne had 17 points and eight boards in the Mystics' losing effort.
The Mercury continue their three game home stand Wednesday afternoon against the Minnesota Lynx (7-4). Tipoff is at 12:30 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona.