Dream protest against Loeffler, lose to Mercury

Diana Taurasi scored 16 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, had six rebounds and six assists and the Phoenix Mercury beat the Atlanta Dream 81-74 on Tuesday night in Bradenton, Fla.

Brittney Griner added 18 points and Skylar Digging-Smith and Bria Hartley each scored 10 for Phoenix (3-2), which has won three in a row.

Rookie Chennedy Carter had a season-high 26 points for Atlanta (2-3) and Betnijah Laney added 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Elizabeth Williams made two free throws to give the Dream a nine-point lead with 48.1 seconds left in the third quarter but Taurasi answered with a 3 and the Mercury went into the fourth quarter trailing by six. Taurasi made eight free throws, had four assists and three rebounds over the final 10 minutes as Phoenix outscored the Dream 32-19.

Dream players wore “Vote Warnock” T-shirts before the game in a rebuke to U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a team co-owner, after she criticized the WNBA for supporting Black Lives Matter initiatives. The T-shirts backed Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat challenging Loeffler in the November special election.