LOS ANGELES (AP) — Diana Taurasi scored 30 points and Candice Dupree had a season-high 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 98-89 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night.
DeWanna Bonner added 16 points for the Mercury (7-11), who have won two straight since ending a six-game skid.
"We're just playing a little more consistent throughout the game," Taurasi said of the Mercury's recent improvement. "Sometimes, that's all it is: just playing with more energy and a little bit harder for the 40 minutes."
DeLisha Milton-Jones had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Sparks (4-13), who have lost six of seven. Noelle Quinn added 18 points and Kristi Toliver had 16.
Taurasi scored 11 points and Dupree had eight points and seven rebounds as the Mercury built a 30-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Phoenix made 13 of 20 shots and outrebounded the Sparks 14-5 in the period.
"We just didn't come out with the sense of urgency that we should have," Sparks coach Jennifer Gillom said. "If we're not scoring, that doesn't mean we don't play defense. Our defense needs to be more aggressive."
The game was the first the two teams played without the Sparks' Candace Parker, who separated her left shoulder June 13. The previous three meetings were decided by a total of three points.
"You don't have her long arms in there on defense," Dupree said of Parker. "They're obviously a little bit smaller because they've got to drop their guards in to defend our (post players). That's probably the biggest thing."
Los Angeles, which trailed by as many as 23 points, narrowed its deficit to 70-64 with 2:04 left in the third quarter. But Dupree and Bonner each had four points in an 8-2 spurt to make it 78-66 with 8:35 to play.
Phoenix played without guard Ketia Swanier, who was serving a one-game suspension for coming off the bench during an altercation in Saturday's game against New York.