Phoenix, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – Temeka Johnson had 23 points and three assists while Tina Thompson added 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Seattle Storm past the Phoenix Mercury 81-73 Friday at the US Airways Center.
Camille Little added 17 points and five rebounds.
The Storm (13-13) scored 19 points off 15 the Mercury’s turnovers.
The Mercury (14-13) made eight of nine shots, but committed five turnovers in the opening period.
The game was tied at 21-21 at the end of the first quarter, but Thompson made back-to-back baskets to spark a 12-1 run and give the Storm a 33-22 advantage with 6:35 in the second.
Johnson scored 16 first-half points to help the Storm take a 44-34 lead at the break.
The Storm led throught the third from seven to as much as 13 points, taking a 63-53 advantage going into the fourth.
They led by double digit until the final two minutes.
With the win, the Storm moved within a half-game of Phoenix for third in the Western Conference with eight games to play.
The Storm has now won 16 of the last 18 regular-season meetings against the Mercury, including all four this season, by an average margin of almost nine points.
They have also won four of their last five and seven of their last 10.
DeWanna Bonner led Mercury with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Candice Dupree had 17 points while Diana Taurasi added 16 points and seven assists for the Mercury.
No. 1 draft pick Brittney Griner had 12 points and five rebounds for the Mercury.
Mercury’s interim head coach Russ Pennell feels that Griner should now push her game another notch.
“She’s going to have to start doing some things we ask and she’s going to have to start paying attention to detail, and I think she will,” Pennell said.
The Mercury had replaced Corey Gaines with Pennell after losing to the Storm, 80-65, Aug. 6.