INDIANAPOLIS – With injured rookie standout Brittney Griner sitting out against the defending league champions, Diana Taurasi stepped up and led the Phoenix Mercury to its first victory of the season.
Taurasi scored 15 of her 26 points in the second half and the short-handed Mercury beat the Indiana Fever 82-67 Saturday. DeWanna Bonner added 24 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix (1-3).
Griner, selected No. 1 overall by Phoenix in this year’s WNBA draft, was a late scratch from the lineup with a left-knee sprain.
“It was difficult not playing with (Griner) because we’re used to playing with her,” Taurasi said. “But it gave a good opportunity for other people to step up. We’re going to need everybody.”
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Ex-Baylor standout Griner suffered the injury in Thursday night’s loss at Minnesota. She was evaluated by the team doctor Saturday morning and was ruled out afterward.
Griner, averaging team highs of 16.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, isn’t expected to miss significant time, team officials said.
Shavonte Zellous had a season-high 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting for the Fever (1-3), which suffered its third consecutive loss.
Indiana is coached by ex-Storm coach Lin Dunn.
• The national broadcast featured the debut of a new referee cam.
Official Lamont Simpson wore the cam, which looked like a pair of glasses with a camera over his right ear.
“It was fun. We made some adjustments at halftime and the second half it was almost like it wasn’t there,” he said.
• In other games, Ivory Latta scored 24 points as host Washington beat Minnesota 85-80 and the host Los Angeles Sparks beat Tulsa 76-69 in overtime. Kristi Toliver scored 21 points for the Sparks.