Diana Taurasi was all business in her return to Connecticut.
The former U-Conn. star scored 26 points to lead the Phoenix Mercury to a 65-58 win over the Connecticut Sun yesterday in Uncasville in her second pro game and first in the state where she led the Huskies to three straight NCAA titles.
Taurasi drew a standing ovation during introductions from the sellout crowd of 9,341. Dozens of fans wore her familiar U-Conn. jersey and there were countless signs welcoming her back. Despite wearing the opponent's colors, she drew cheers each time she scored en route to spoiling the Sun's season opener.
"There is no better state than Connecticut for basketball," Taurasi said. "The crowds they get, people love the game. It's like you're family."
It was the first win for Phoenix (1-1), which selected Taurasi with the first pick in the WNBA draft last month. Anna DeForge added 17 points and had six assists for the Mercury. DeForge and Penny Taylor controlled the boards with seven rebounds each.
"Diana felt right at home here," Phoenix Coach Carrie Graf said. "She made some huge shots and got her teammates involved. She's a special person."
Taj McWilliams-Franklin led Connecticut with 14 points. Wendy Palmer scored 10 points and had a team-high 10 rebounds for the Sun.
The game also marked the debut of Sun rookie Lindsay Whalen, who led Minnesota to the Final Four in March. She struggled early before getting all five of her points in the final two minutes of the game.
* SHOCK 73, SILVER STARS 60: Cheryl Ford had career highs with 21 points and 22 rebounds and defending WNBA champion Detroit opened its season with a win over host San Antonio.
The Shock built up a double-digit lead early in the second half before San Antonio made a late run.
* LYNX 69, MONARCHS 61: Katie Smith scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half, leading Minnesota past Sacramento.
Smith kept Minnesota ahead late in the game, making a jumper with 1 minute 17 seconds left, then with the shot clock running down, she hit a 26-foot three-pointer for a 67-59 lead.
* STORM 93, SPARKS 67: Betty Lennox scored 20 points and Seattle, at home, tied a franchise high for points. Lennox, who came to Seattle from the Cleveland Rockers in the dispersal draft, sparked the Storm's 10-2 run early in the second half.