PHOENIX (AP) _ Penny Taylor had a season-high 23 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals and the Phoenix Mercury extended their franchise-best winning streak to 12 games with a 101-85 rout of the Connecticut Sun on Thursday.
All-Star Brittney Griner added 21 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, giving her 80 at the All-Star break for Phoenix (18-3).
Katie Douglas hit a season-high five 3-pointers and had 23 points, five rebounds and six assists for the Sun (10-14), who have lost eight of their past 10.
Phoenix _ which hosts the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday _ is one win or a Seattle loss, away from clinching a playoff spot, with a month left in the season.
Alex Bentley added 20 points for Connecticut, which was the last team to beat the Mercury, 96-95, on June 12.
All-Star Diana Taurasi had 14 points and six assists for Phoenix.
After trailing by as much as 14 in the first half, Connecticut used some hustle _ Chiney Ogwumike’s put-back after being blocked by Griner, Douglas’ steal of an inbounds pass before Phoenix ran off nine straight points and led 76-61 going into the final quarter.
Ogwumike had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Connecticut, her 10th double-double of the season.
Candice Dupree, an All-Star reserve, had 14 points and seven rebounds for Phoenix.
Taylor had 19 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the first half as Phoenix opened up a 51-39 lead. Phoenix led by as much as 21 in the fourth quarter.
Taylor scored 12 points during a 3 1/2-minute stretch of the second quarter, then hit a 3-pointer from the baseline in the final minute of the period to put the Mercury up 50-36. Griner added nine points despite picking up her third foul with 1:53 left in the half. She had 17 points in the period.
The Sun hit 10 of 17 from the field in the second quarter to stay close after trailing 24-14 following the first period.
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