Sun, 20 Sep 2020

Hartley, Mercury down Dream

Field Level Media
15 Aug 2020, 14:19 GMT+10

Bria Hartley scored 24 points off the bench to lead four Phoenix scorers with at least 14 points, and the Mercury cruised past the Atlanta Dream 96-80 on Friday in Bradenton, Fla.

Hartley sank one of her four 3-pointers midway through the first quarter to give Phoenix (6-4) the lead at 10-8. That kicked off a 12-4 run over the remainder of the quarter, and the Mercury never again trailed.

A combination of efficient and balanced play buoyed Phoenix. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 20 points. Skylar Diggins-Smith hit three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, contributing to the Mercury's torrid 12-of-25 long-range shooting on the night.

Phoenix's Brittney Griner added 14 points, eight rebounds and blocked four shots.

The Mercury owed their balanced offense in part to sharing the ball. Twenty-four of their 32 made field goals came via assist, led by Hartley's five. Griner, Diggins-Smith and Walker-Kimbrough each dished out four assists.

Forcing 12 turnovers -- five of which came off of Walker-Kimbrough steals -- and limiting Atlanta to sub-30 percent 3-point shooting for much of the night helped the Mercury push their lead to as many as 25 points.

The gap grew to double-digits midway through the second quarter when the Dream (2-8) endured a dry spell with just two points over 3:39. Another drought of more than four minutes in the late third quarter put the game out of reach for Atlanta, which dropped its seventh loss game.

Atlanta slashed the deficit to 12 points in the late fourth quarter when 3-pointers started to fall, but the Dream could get no closer.

Betnijah Laney led the Dream with 16 points. Courtney Williams added 12 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, and Monique Billings also scored 12. Blake Dietrick finished with 11 points and a game-high seven assists, and Elizabeth Williams had 10 points and seven boards.

Phoenix was without Diana Taurasi for a third consecutive game. Taurasi sustained a back injury late in the Mercury's Aug. 8 loss to Seattle.

--Field Level Media

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