Griner, Mercury too hot for young Stars squad

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AT&T Center – The San Antonio Stars’ issues of closing quarters haunted them once again as they fell 92-77 to the Phoenix Mercury in front of 8,232 fans at the AT&T Center on Friday night.

Kayla McBride led all scorers with 22 points, including 10 in the first quarter. Alex Montgomery was the only other San Antonio player in double figures with 12 points. The Silver and Black played without guard Moriah Jefferson, who missed the game as she is going through the league’s concussion protocol.

Rookie Kelsey Plum started the game, posting six points and six assists.

San Antonio came out aggressive, scoring early and often. That was a better start than their subpar beginning to the game in their blowout to the Connecticut Sun.

“We had better energy and better focus. I thought defensively we gave up too many threes,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “We did a good job of attacking in the paint, 30 in the paint versus on Wednesday when we had 20. We had 15 turnovers, but major turnovers that we couldn’t recover from.”

The Silver and Black cut into the Phoenix lead with a mini 6-0 run in the third quarter, but turnovers and missed assignments would do the Stars in. That is something that despite being 17 games into the season is still a work in progress.

“We missed a lot of the schemes we were supposed to be doing,” Stars reserve Sydney Colson said. “We had that run and there was a spurt, the crowd was into it and our bench was too. It gave the players on the court a little bit more energy, but when we have lapses, we just can’t allow that.”

The Mercury were led by Diana Taurasi’s 17 points. Brittney Griner and Lelani Mitchell each chipped in 15 for Phoenix (9-6), who led by as many as 22.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “The Stars have only won one game in the season, but they still compete hard. It was more about us focusing on the game plan and for the most part we did that.”

Up next: The Stars are now 1-16 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday morning when they travel to Indianapolis to face the Fever at 11 a.m., as the Silver and Black open a three-game road trip.

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Stephen Anderson is a writer and editor for the Project Spurs Network. He joined the PS team back in 2014 as a staff writer with Project Spurs and has taken over as editor for network sites Stars Hoops, Rampage Central, and Red Black 90. Stephen graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2017 with a degree in Communications Arts, specializing in Journalism and Public Relations. He is a credentialed media member for the San Antonio Stars, Rampage, and San Antonio FC.

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