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Diamond DeShields’ season-high 25 points leads Mercury over Liberty

Diamond DeShields scored a season-high 25 points as the host Phoenix Mercury ended a three-game losing streak and strengthened their playoff hopes with a 76-62 victory over the New York Liberty on Saturday night.

Shey Peddy added 20 points and Sophie Cunningham scored 18 as the Mercury (14-19) overcame the absence of star guard Diana Taurasi (quad injury) to move into eighth place by jumping over New York.

Sabrina Ionescu scored 20 points to lead the Liberty (13-19), who saw their three-game winning streak end.

The Liberty scored the first four points of the third quarter to close within 43-38.

Jennie Simms made a 3-pointer and another basket to push the lead back to 10 points.

New York closed within seven points before DeShields converted a three-point play and Phoenix went on to take a 58-46 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Brianna Turner and Peddy scored back-to-back baskets to start the fourth-quarter scoring and push the lead to 16.

Ionescu’s floater produced the Liberty’s first points of the quarter before Peddy made consecutive 3-pointers that sandwiched a 3-pointer from Ionescu to extend the lead to 68-51.

The Liberty closed within eight points twice, but the Mercury scored the final six points of the game.

DeShields scored seven points as the Mercury took an 11-5 lead in the first. They led by as much as 10 before taking a 25-16 lead into the second quarter. DeShields scored 14 points in the period.

Cunningham started the second-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer, and she added another basket that pushed the lead to 33-18.

The Liberty scored the next five points and Ionescu scored the final five points of the quarter to pull New York within 43-34 at halftime.

DeShields’ 22 points at the half left her one point short of her previous season high for a game.

–Field Level Media

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