- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Mercury have gotten contributions from all of their All-Stars during their lengthy winning streak.

But on Thursday, it was the 13th-year veteran from Australia who gave them a lift.

Penny Taylor had a season-high 23 points, added four rebounds, four assists and three steals in leading the Mercury to their 12th straight win, 101-85 over the Connecticut Sun.

The Mercury have an WNBA-best 18-3 record.

“That’s the beauty of it and why I enjoy it so much,” Taylor said. “Because we are finding ways be effective and it’s not always the easy way. We have so many players on this team with high basketball IQs. For me, that’s so much fun.”

All-Star Brittney Griner added 21 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots, giving her 80 at the break for Phoenix.

Katie Douglas hit a season-high five 3-pointers and had 23 points, five rebounds and six assists for the Sun (10-14), who have lost eight of their past 10.

Phoenix - which hosts the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday - is one win, or a Seattle loss, away from clinching a playoff spot, with a month left in the season.

“Couldn’t have asked for a better first half, in my first year,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “I have a great bunch of girls in there. They’re professionals and they want to win, so it makes my job a little easier in that regard.”

Before the streak, no Mercury team had previously been more than 13 games above .500 and Phoenix won 19 games during the regular season a year ago on its way to the Western Conference finals.

“Phoenix is a big team, hard to match up with and they take you out of your offense because of their length,” Connecticut coach Anne Donovan said. “So tonight it was important to get on the (offensive) boards, we weren’t hitting our first shot, we weren’t getting the shot we wanted.”

Phoenix has won its games by an average of 12.2 points during the win streak.

Alex Bentley added 20 points for Connecticut, which was the most recent team to beat the Mercury, 96-95, on June 12.

“We’re rolling, we wanted to get all these wins and protect home court,” Griner said. “Connecticut beat us at their place, definitely remembered that in the back of our heads, wanted to get the win so we can enjoy All-Star (game) now.”

All-Star Diana Taurasi had 14 points and six assists for Phoenix, winners of 14 of its past 15.

Story Continues →