A dominant defensive effort and 54 percent shooting from the floor paced the Los Angeles Sparks to their fifth consecutive win, a 91-62 rout of the visiting Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday.
Los Angeles (14-18) held Phoenix to 40.7 percent shooting from the field, including just 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range. The Sparks held their third straight opponent to fewer than 80 points.
The Sparks complemented their overwhelming defense with 34-of-63 shooting and a blistering 10-of-17 success beyond the arc, led by Karlie Samuelson’s 3-of-3 effort from long range. Samuelson finished with 15 points.
Azura Stevens posted game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Los Angeles. She scored six points over the final 2:21 of the first quarter, contributing to a 20-6 Sparks run that gave the hosts a 15-point lead at the end of the period and left Phoenix playing catch-up the rest of the way.
Los Angeles’ Jordin Canada shot 3 of 4 from beyond the arc en route to 11 points, and she dished a game-high seven assists.
Zia Cooke added 11 points off the Sparks’ bench. Dearica Hamby added nine points and grabbed six rebounds in reserve duty, and Jasmine Thomas shot 4-for-5 from the floor for another nine points.
Phoenix, which dropped its fourth straight game, was without Brittney Griner (health and safety protocol), Diana Taurasi (toe) and Shey Peddy (concussion protocol).
Sophie Cunningham led Phoenix (9-24) with 16 points and six assists. Megan Gustafson scored 14 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and Liz Dixon finished with 12 points off the bench.
Michaela Onyenwere, who played college ball at nearby UCLA, struggled mightily, finishing with three points on 1-of-10 shooting while getting whistled for five fouls. She also committed three turnovers, part of the 16 Phoenix coughed up on the night.
The Mercury gave away possession nine times in the first half.
Los Angeles ended the night with just seven turnovers.
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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