Veterans Bria Hartley, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi led the Phoenix Mercury to a 96-67 victory over the New York Liberty on Sunday in Bradenton, Fla.
Hartley scored a career-high 27 points for Phoenix (2-2) on 10 of 18 shooting, while Griner (16 points, six rebounds) and Taurasi (18 points, nine assists) each had a plus/minus of 29.
New York (0-4) was without 2020 No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu, who suffered a Grade 3 left ankle sprain in a loss Friday to the Atlanta Dream. Kia Nurse, who is dealing with her own ankle injury, did play after missing Friday's game and finished with 16 points, but on 3-of-17 shooting.
The Mercury got off to a great start, more than doubling New York's scoring output with a 25-12 lead to end the first quarter.
The Liberty shot 2 of 18 from the field in the first quarter, hitting only a pair of layups. On the day, the Liberty hit just 18 of 73 shots.
The Liberty stayed within striking distance, however, because of Phoenix's own struggles shooting. The Mercury were 13 of 37 from the field over the first 20 minutes with Skylar Diggins-Smith and Hartley combining on 4-of-17 shooting in the first half. Phoenix was up 41-27 at the break.
With 6:38 remaining in the third quarter, Griner picked up her fifth foul and was sent to the bench. With one the best interior defenders in the league off the floor, the Mercury's defense slumped.
Over the next five minutes, New York outscored Phoenix 23-10 to cut a 15-point deficit to two points, but the Mercury ended the third quarter up 62-56.
Griner returned at the start of the fourth and the Mercury immediately went on a 10-0 run, leading to a New York timeout. Phoenix kept extending their advantage until the game was way out of reach.
The Mercury outscored the Liberty 34-11 in the final frame.
Phoenix returns to action on Tuesday against the Dream, while New York will meet the Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media