Brunson's double-double powers Monarchs to sixth straight win

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Rebekkah Brunson had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Sacramento Monarchs beat the Phoenix Mercury 83-74 Thursday for their sixth straight victory.

Kara Lawson had 15 points and seven assists, and Nicole Powell added 13 points for the Monarchs, who were at the bottom of the Western Conference standings just two weeks ago. Sacramento broke open a tight game with a 9-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, including a key jumper by Brunson to extend Sacramento's longest winning streak of the season.

"We are just trying to get better every day, and one of the things I was proud of is that we got even better today," Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said.

Cappie Pondexter had 23 points and five rebounds, and Diana Taurasi added 17 points, two assists and two blocked shots for the Mercury, who lived up to their ranking as the WNBA's worst defensive team.

"We played well in stretches, but not well enough to win the game," said Taurasi, whose Mercury have lost five of seven to fall into last place at 11-14. "We gave it a good effort and just came up short."

Sacramento opened the rare afternoon game at Arco Arena on a 14-2 run before Phoenix rallied to a 40-35 halftime deficit.

The Monarchs, who won with 32.5 percent shooting, lost guard Chelsea Newton to a sprained left ankle late in the third quarter before taking charge in the final minutes.

"I don't know what happened in the fourth quarter," said Pondexter, who scored 33 points against the Monarchs two weeks ago. "The Monarchs regained their balance, started hitting shots, and everything just seemed to start going their way."