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Taurasi scores 22 as Mercury cruise past Monarchs

Jul 15, 2009 - 10:23 PM PHOENIX(AP) -- Diana Taurasi scored 22 points and Cappie Pondexter had a franchise-record 15 assists to lead the Phoenix Mercury past the Sacramento Monarchs 100-81 on Wednesday.

DeWanna Bonner had 15 points, Kelly Mazzante added 14, Le'Coe Willingham and Temeka Johnson had 13 apiece, and Pondexter 12 for Phoenix (11-4), which has won five straight - its longest streak since a six-game run in 2007.

Pondexter topped the Mercury's previous record of 12 assists, set by Michelle Cleary in 2000, and finished one shy of the league record.

Nicole Powell scored 23 points, Courtney Paris had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Monarchs (3-11), which lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Sacramento, playing its first game since firing Jenny Boucek as coach and replacing her with general manager John Whisenant, has lost three of four against the Mercury this season.

The Monarchs shot just 2 for 19 from the field in the second quarter and trailed 48-39 at the break.

The Mercury went on an 8-2 run to start the third quarter and Taurasi's basket at the end of a fastbreak with 3:50 left in the period gave Phoenix a 70-46 lead.

Sacramento got within 12 after Paris' hook shot in the first minute of the final quarter but did not get closer.

Phoenix has averaged 98.8 points during the five-game win streak and is a franchise-best 8-1 at home.