Analyzing the First Half of 2013

By Ben York,
Posted: July 29, 2013

Before looking ahead to the much more significant second half of the WNBA season for the Mercury, itís important to spend a few minutes discussing the roller-coaster that was the first half of 2013.

The theme so far? Resilience. It sounds tired, but thatís the best way to describe the 2013 Phoenix Mercury as evidenced by at least seven players missing time at some point.

The Mercury is 9-9 through their first 18 games of the year and currently sits at third place in the deep Western Conference. Only eight of the teamís first 18 games were at home including two each against the West-leading Minnesota Lynx and the surging Los Angeles Sparks.

That means Phoenix has already played 10 of their 17 road games on the year with just three coming in August (seven of their ten games are at US Airways Center in August).

After starting 0-3, Phoenix made the switch back to their patented up-tempo system which was a major factor in the Mercury winning nine of their next 15 games. Indeed, working a 6-8 phenom into the mix combined with multiple players missing time due to injuries certainly made things difficult for the Mercury.

But to their credit, and to no oneís surprise, they continued to make new decisions based on new facts and remained both strong and united.

In spite of the slow start and the constant injury battle, some amazing things occurred throughout the first 18 games.

Hereís a few:

  • Diana Taurasi is now just 84 points shy of reaching 6.000 career points. If she reaches 6,000 career points this season, not only will Taurasi become just the fifth player in league history to reach the milestone, she will have reached it quicker than any player in league history. She currently leads the league in scoring with 22.4 points per game.

  • DeWanna Bonner surpassed the 2,000-point milestone for her career on July 10 against San Antonio. Bonner also owns three 20-point, 10-rebound efforts this season and 13 for her career, the most in franchise history.

  • Candice Dupree owns two double-doubles this season, 22 in a Mercury uniform, giving her the second-most in franchise history and 51 total for her career. Dupree has recorded four games this season of at least 10 rebounds and shot better than 50.0 percent in 10 of her last 15 games, better than 60.0 percent five times this season.

  • Penny Taylor has appeared in six games this season, her first WNBA action since Sept. 25, 2011, after missing all of 2012 with a torn left ACL. In her first five games back after more than a year off, Taylor is averaging 8.4 points on 14-of-28 shooting, 1.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just 14.2 minutes per game.

  • Brittney Griner is leading the league with 2.83 blocks per game, and on pace to block 82 shots this season (franchise record: 64, Maria Stepanova, 2001). She is also shooting a league-best 59.8 percent from the field and shot at least 60.0 percent in six of her last nine games, seven total this season.

  • The all-time winningest coach in franchise history, Head Coach Corey Gaines is 11 wins shy of 100 career WNBA wins, all coming with the Mercury.

  • The team won a season-high five-straight games, June 21-July 2, its longest win streak since July 1-15, 2011 (six-game streak).

  • The Mercury won a franchise-record five-straight road games, June 8-June 29.

  • Phoenix has shot 50.0 percent or better four times in 18 games this season, after doing so just twice in 34 games in 2012. The Mercury is 4-0 this season when shooting at least 50.0 percent from the field.

  • The Mercury has scored at least 100 points twice in just 18 games this season, after reaching the century mark only five times in the last two seasons combined (zero in 2012). Phoenix led the WNBA in scoring every season from 2006 to 2011.

  • The Mercury has scored at least 90 points six times this season, six times in the last 14 games, all wins.
  • Make sure to visit Tuesday, July 30 for the keys to the second half of the 2013 season.