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Diana Taurasi explodes for 24 points as Mercury outlast Storm

Diana Taurasi #3 of the Phoenix Mercury handles the ball against Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm during the second half at Climate Pledge Arena on May 14, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The epic rivalry between Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird was on full display Saturday as the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Seattle Storm 69-64 at Climate Pledge Arena.

Taurasi sunk two late free throws to put the game out of reach after a missed 3-point attempt from Bird sealed Seattle’s fate.

Bird was uncharacteristically cold from deep Saturday, missing all eight of her attempts from beyond the arc to set a new single-game low for her career.

Taking advantage of the Storm’s sputtering offense, Taurasi exploded for 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc. Skylar Diggins-Smith added 14 points, while Brianna Turner and Tina Charles combined for 24 rebounds.

The Storm struggled to get their offense going without Breanna Stewart, who remains sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols. Jewell Loyd was the only Storm player to finish in double figures, recording a game-high 26 points.

With the win, the Mercury improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Storm fell to 1-3.