Kahleah Copper scores 34 as Mercury outlast Wings

Kahleah Copper rang up 34 points, including a huge 3-pointer with 21.8 seconds to play, as the visiting Phoenix Mercury held off the struggling Dallas Wings 104-96 on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas.

The Mercury (10-10) snapped a two-game losing streak by taking charge of the game early in the second quarter, building a huge lead and fighting off a Dallas rally. Phoenix led by 13 points at halftime and by 61-43 after a three-point play by Brittney Griner in the opening minute after the break before Dallas closed to within seven heading into the fourth quarter.

The Wings cut their deficit to 97-94 on a putback layup by Natasha Howard with 2:19 left and to 99-96 after a pair of free throws by Arike Ogunbowale 25 seconds later. But Phoenix never let the Wings get closer, with two free throws by Natasha Cloud with 6.7 seconds remaining clinching the win.

Griner added 24 points while Diana Taurasi had 16, Rebecca Allen scored 14 points and Cloud had 11 points and 10 assists for Phoenix.

Howard scored a season-high 36 points and took 11 rebounds to lead the Wings (4-16), which lost their third straight game and 14th in their last 15 outings. Ogunbowale scored 26 points, and Odyssey Sims hit for 13 for Dallas.

Griner’s jumper at the 6:48 mark of the first quarter gave the Mercury their first lead at 8-6. Phoenix expanded its lead to five points when Allen canned a 3-pointer midway through the period and then to 20-11 after Copper hit a three and then a jumper, the latter with 2:48 to play in the first. The Mercury led 27-18 at the end of the period.

But Dallas swung back, paring its deficit to 41-32 when Howard and Ogunbowale hit baskets as part of a 6-0 run. Phoenix answered and carried a 56-43 lead to the break.

Copper poured in 17 points before halftime to lead all scorers while Taurasi had 13 and Allen scored 11 for the Mercury. Howard paced Dallas with 14 points at the half, with Ogunbowale adding 11.

The Wings clawed back from 18 points down early in the third to within 76-74 after an Ogunbowale jumper with 1:39 to play in the period.

–Field Level Media