SEATTLE – With 6-foot-8 rookie sensation Brittney Griner patrolling the paint for Phoenix, the Seattle Storm used their outside shooting to beat the Mercury.
Tanisha Wright scored 20 points, Camille Little had 13 and Shekinna Stricklen added 11 to lead the Storm to a 75-72 win over the Mercury on Sunday night.
Seattle (1-1) shot 8 for 19 (42 percent) on 3-pointers, rallying from an early 11-point deficit.
“We have post players who can stretch the defense,” Storm guard Temeka Johnson said. “It’s not just because we were playing against Griner. It’s like that against any team. It just worked in our favor tonight.”
Candice Dupree had 18 points and Griner added 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots to lead the Mercury (0-2). DeWanna Bonner scored 11 points and Diana Taurasi had 10.
“They hit some shots,” Phoenix coach Corey Gaines said, “and we didn’t shoot well.”
After Taurasi’s jumper pulled the Mercury to 68-67 with 2:31 to go, Noelle Quinn followed with a basket 20 seconds later.
Griner, who had 18 points and two dunks in her WNBA debut in a loss to Chicago on Monday, had another dunk with 1:15 remaining but it was waved off due to a charging foul on teammate Alexis Hornbuckle.
Little then hit her second 3 of the game with 57.6 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to 73-67.
Dupree’s jumper pulled Phoenix within four with 7.2 seconds remaining, but Wright made two free throws 2 seconds later to seal the win.
Bonner’s 3 – the Mercury’s first of the game – with less than a second left provided the final margin. Phoenix finished 1 for 4 on 3s.
Griner took just three shots in the fourth quarter, going scoreless over the final 7:47 after making 1 of 2 free throws.
“We’re an inside-outside team,” she said. “It’s not like they’re always coming to me. We’ve got scorers all around.”
After scoring 12 points in the first half as the Mercury jumped out to leads of 8-0 and 18-7, Griner got into foul trouble early in a third quarter that saw the Storm outscore Phoenix 25-18 while taking a 60-56 lead. Griner was whistled for two fouls in a span of 5 seconds early in the period.