Mercury set WNBA record with 45 first-quarter points, hold off Sun 90-84

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, foreground, argues with officials as forward Brianna Turner walks past during the second half of the team's WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Phoenix. The Storm won 97-91. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

PHOENIX – Brittney Griner had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Mercury set a WNBA record for points in a quarter with 45 in the first before holding off the short-handed Connecticut Sun down the stretch for a 90-84 win on Thursday night.

Phoenix broke the record of 44 points in a quarter set earlier this season by New York to build a 21-point lead. But the Mercury only scored seven points in the second to have their lead trimmed to 52-48 at the break. The 38-point difference was the largest drop-off in points from one quarter to the next in WNBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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DeWanna Bonner, Connecticut's leading scorer, left with a back injury early in the first quarter and did not return.

Moriah Jefferson scored 17 points, and Diana Taurasi had 16 points and made four 3-pointers for Phoenix (9-20). Sophie Cunningham, who scored nine on three 3-pointers, reached 1,000 career points.

Rebecca Allen scored a season-high 24 points and Alyssa Thomas had 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Connecticut (21-8). Tiffany Hayes added 15 points.

Hayes made a 3-pointer to get Connecticut within 82-81 but Jefferson answered with a jumper from the free-throw line. After a Sun miss, Griner hit a baseline jumper to give Phoenix a five-point lead.

Following a Phoenix miss, Allen raced the other way for a fast-break layup to cut Connecticut's deficit to 86-84 with 30.1 seconds left. But Jefferson found an opening in the lane and scored with 19.3 seconds left for a four-point lead. Connecticut turned it over on the inbounds play and Jefferson sealed it with two free throws.



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