PHOENIX (AP) — 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.
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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