Connecticut's Alyssa Thomas scored 18 of her 20 points in the second half to lead the Sun to a 79-64 win over Phoenix, spoiling the season debut of Mercury guard Diana Taurasi in the WNBA game Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena at Uncasville, Conn.
Taurasi, a UConn legend, was cleared to play two weeks ago by team doctors after undergoing offseason back surgery. She elected to continue healing and played only 15:58 in the Mercury's loss. She finished with five points, missing four shots from the field and going 5 of 6 at the free throw line. She had four assists and three rebounds.
The Sun (10-6) avoided their first six-game losing streak since 2016. Phoenix (7-7) entered winning five of its previous six games.
Jonquel Jones had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Connecticut and Thomas (10 rebounds) and Courtney Williams (10 points and 10 rebounds) also had double-doubles for the Sun.
DeWanna Bonner had 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Phoenix. Brittney Griner, who entered scoring at least 20 points in five consecutive games, was held to 10 points and four rebounds.
Connecticut tied the game four times in the first half but could never take the lead. Phoenix took its biggest lead of the first half, 36-28 with 2:02 remaining, on a layup by Bonner. The Mercury would not score again until 4:53 remained in the third quarter on a free throw by Camille Little.
By that time, Connecticut led 43-37. In the 15-0 run, the Sun took their first lead of the game (38-36 with 7:10 left in the third quarter) and held Phoenix to 0 for 7 from the field with three turnovers.
Phoenix remained cold from the field as Connecticut built a 50-37 lead with 3:13 left on a 3-pointer by Williams.
The Mercury ended their field-goal drought of nine straight misses and five turnovers in the third quarter with a Griner layup with 2:07 left, cutting Connecticut's lead to 50-39.
The Sun got off to a slow start in the fourth quarter with three straight turnovers that allowed Phoenix to cut the lead to 57-54 with 8:33 left.
Behind a couple of baskets from Thomas, Connecticut rebounded with a 12-2 run to open a 69-56 lead with 5:51 remaining.
--Field Level Media