Taylor scores 18, Mercury beat Silver Stars for 2nd time in 4 days

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Penny Taylor had 18 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Phoenix Mercury over the San Antonio Silver Stars 103-87 on Friday night.

The Mercury (14-13) earned their fourth straight win — second over the Silver Stars in four days — and lead San Antonio (10-17) by four games for second place in the Western Conference with seven games to play.

Six Mercury players were in double figures, including Tangela Smith, who scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half.

Chamique Holdsclaw had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Sophia Young had 17 points and six rebounds for San Antonio, which has lost four of six. The Silver Stars fell into a third-place tie with the Los Angeles Sparks. Both teams are percentage points ahead of fourth-place Minnesota.

Becky Hammon made 6 of 8 shots from 3-point range and finished with 21 points.

The Mercury topped the Silver Stars 103-92 on Tuesday night in San Antonio.

Phoenix, which has won seven of eight, led by 15 at halftime. San Antonio closed to within 65-60 with 3:41 left in the third quarter, but didn't get any closer.

The Mercury finished the period on a 7-2 run and made six of their first seven shots in the fourth to pull away.

Phoenix shot 38-of-63 from the field, scoring half of its points from inside the lane. Kara Braxton, acquired from Tulsa in a July 21 trade to shore up the inside, added 17 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes of a reserve role.

The Mercury, the WNBA's highest-scoring team, has scored at least 97 points in 11 of 12 games.

Taylor made six of her first eight shots, scoring 14 points and leading the Mercury to a 55-40 lead at the break. Holdsclaw had 15 points and five rebounds in the first half.

Diana Taurasi's first quarter rebound for Phoenix made her the third WNBA player to reach 4,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 900 assists. Taurasi accomplished the feat in just her 224th career game, the fastest in league history. She had 13 points and six assists on the night.