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WNBA: Mercury attempt to keep rising in rematch against Storm

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The Phoenix Mercury have consecutive wins against the top two teams in the WNBA.

They’ll try to make it three in a row when they visit the Seattle Storm on Sunday.

The Mercury (9-9) produced an 85-77 victory over the visiting Storm (15-5) on Friday, two days after they beat the Las Vegas Aces 99-90 in overtime.

“It feels good to beat the two best teams,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said, “but we still have work to do and can hopefully build on that.”

The two victories came despite the absence of Diana Taurasi due to a hip injury, and Taurasi’s replacement, Sophie Cunningham, missed the second half Friday while in concussion protocol after being hit in the face. Cunningham’s absence left Phoenix with just seven players.

The Mercury’s back-to-back victories came right after their worst performance of the season in a 99-68 loss to Minnesota on July 3.

“These are big games,” said Brittney Griner, who had 29 points and 15 rebounds Friday. “A lot of people thought we would fold after that Minnesota loss, but these two games show we’re not giving up.”

The Storm clinched a spot against Connecticut in the Commissioner’s Cup when Las Vegas lost to Minnesota on Friday, but they were disappointed in their performance, particularly on the offensive end, against the Mercury.

Jewell Loyd led Seattle with 16 points, but made just 6 of 18 shots, and Brianna Stewart had 15 on 5 of 13 shooting.

“I should have been more aggressive,” Stewart said. “I don’t think 13 shots is enough for me. (I have to) continue to put pressure on the defense that way so that’s going to be something that I’m looking to do on Sunday — just be aggressive from start to finish.”

The Storm shot 38.2 percent from the floor and 30.8 percent (8 of 26) on 3-pointers.

“Tough one,” Seattle coach Noelle Quinn said. “I thought we played hard. We battled. Just kind of didn’t lock in at timely moments in the game.”

–Field Level Media

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