Johnson, Thompson lead Storm past Mercury, 88-79
SEATTLE (AP) – Temeka Johnson and Tina Thompson each scored 16 points and the Seattle Storm used a big third quarter to beat the Phoenix Mercury 88-79 on Thursday night.
The 38-year-old Thompson, who is retiring after this season, shot 5 for 11 from the field and had seven rebounds to help the Storm (8-10) beat the Mercury for the 14th time in the last 16 meetings.
“I’ve played better in my career, that’s for sure,” said Thompson, who is the only player to have appeared in each of the league’s 17 seasons. “But I guess I’m playing good for a 38-year old. But, no, I’m not coming back for another year. No second thoughts.”
Tanisha Wright added 14 points and seven assists, while Tianna Hawkins had 13 points as Seattle rallied from a 13-point deficit in the first half. Johnson also had seven assists.
Seattle shot 11 for 26 (42 percent) on 3-pointers while outscoring Phoenix 33-9 from beyond the arc.
“When we move the ball and get open shots and make the defense work,” Thompson said, “that’s when we’re at our best.”
DeWanna Bonner had 19 points and nine rebounds and Candice Dupree added 16 points and 10 boards to lead the Mercury (9-10). Rookie Brittney Griner scored 11 points for Phoenix, which lost its third straight.
Diana Taurasi finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting before fouling out with 2:59 remaining for the Mercury. Taurasi picked up her final three fouls in a span of 35 seconds.
“They were all good calls,” she said with a shrug.
The Storm missed their first six shots of the game, fell behind 7-0 and eventually trailed by double digits before using 7-of-15 shooting on 3s to pull within three at halftime.
Seattle then outscored Phoenix 28-16 in the third _ including an 8-0 run _ to take control.
The Storm didn’t take their first lead until 2 1/2 minutes into the second half, when Shekinna Stricklen’s 3-pointer from the wing put them ahead 48-46.
Thompson scored 10 of her 16 points in the second quarter.
Griner was back on the court after missing the Mercury’s last five games before the All-Star break due to a sprained left knee. She was limited to just four minutes per quarter.
“We were playing well and I had to take (Brittney) out of the game,” Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. “She had four blocked shots in (17) minutes. … We play them again next week so maybe Brittney gets to play six minutes per quarter that game.”
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