Short-handed Mercury hand Sky fourth straight loss

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- DeWanna Bonner scored 27 points and the Phoenix Mercury held off the Chicago Sky 84-81 Friday night.

Charde Houston had 16 points, Samantha Prahalis scored 14 and Avery Warley added 10 to help the Mercury (4-9), limited to just eight active players, snap a two-game skid. Krystal Thomas had 11 rebounds.

"I just wanted to be aggressive and come out and get a win," Bonner said. "We are struggling right now since we only have eight players so I just try to come out and play hard every night and take what the defense gives me."

Swin Cash scored 16 points and Shay Murphy had 15 for the Sky (7-5), who have lost four straight since the best start in franchise history. Courtney Vandersloot added 13 points, Tamera Young scored 12 and Sylvia Fowles had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"I don't think Sylvia worked as hard as she needed to work today to get the ball," Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. "I credit Avery, I credit Krystal. It's not an easy task but you've got to outwork people and use your quickness."

Fowles agreed with Chatman's criticism.

"This is the first game I didn't get double-teamed or triple-teamed," she said. "The jumpers were easier but they weren't falling. It came down to not being aggressive and not being myself."

Phoenix led by 14 points early in the third quarter, before Chicago chipped away and pulled to 82-81 on Sonja Petrovic's 3-pointer with 13 seconds to play. Bonner made two free throws 6 seconds later to seal the Mercury's win.

"It was a tough played game," Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. "Chicago is a good team. We just tried to come in and win. Our game plan was to not let Sylvia score too much and it worked."

Diana Taurasi missed her 10th straight game with a hip flexor for the Mercury. Forwards Candice Dupree and Nakia Sanford both sat out their fourth games in-a-row due to left knee contusions.

"We are just trying to play hard and get some wins," Prahalis said. "In the beginning (of the season), we didn't play so hard and we let some slip away.

"We have so many injuries that we just rallied and said, `Yeah, we're young but let's get some wins and let's get rolling and play with some spirit and let's play with some energy.' ... Just do the little things, get the loose balls, get the things that we can control."

Bonner and Houston each had six points in the first quarter, helping Phoenix to a 23-21 lead. Bonner added 11 points in the second quarter -- including 5-for-5 shooting on free throws -- as the Mercury extended their advantage to 49-43 at halftime.

Phoenix stretched it to a double-digit lead by the 7:11 mark of the third. Bonner had eight points in that run as the Mercury opened a 61-47 lead.

Chicago replied with a 15-5 surge and cut the deficit to 66-62 entering the final quarter.

Phoenix shot 46 percent (30 for 65) from the field and outrebounded the Sky 42-25.

"We have to do the dirt and that's not getting outrebounded by 17," Chatman said. "It starts there. That's a toughness, a mentality."