Seattle takes down Phoenix, Mercury lose Taurasi late
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Jewell Loyd scored 20 points, Breanna Stewart had 15 and Seattle used the second quarter to take control in a 74-68 win over Phoenix on Saturday.
Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi left with 5:18 remaining due to injury. She walked off the court to the locker room without assistance. Mercury coach Sandy Brondello says Taurasi appeared to have sustained an injury in her hip area.
On a drive to the basket, Stewart cut off Taurasi, who then threw a behind-the-back pass to Brittney Griner for a layup. Phoenix trailed 64-49 after the bucket.
The 38-year-old Taurasi underwent back surgery before the 2019 season, and hamstring problems limited her to six games last year. The team said late Saturday that an MRI revealed “no structural damage, and was reassuring that this injury is not related to Taurasi’s 2019 back surgery.”
The Mercury added that a timetable for Taurasi’s return would be determined soon.
Phoenix put up a fight and drew within 70-66 on a pair of Sophie Cunningham free throws with 26 seconds left before the Storm sealed it at the free throw line.
After Alanna Smith’s layup gave Phoenix a 16-14 lead with 95 seconds left in the first quarter, Seattle’s Breanna Smith made a layup and Sami Whitcomb a 3-pointer near the end of the quarter. Loyd started the second with back-to-back 3s, Whitcomb made another layup and Seattle began to create separation.
Griner led Phoenix with 20 points.