Bonner, Taurasi Combine for 48 in Win
“It was a tough one, but we grinded it out just like last game,” said Brittney Griner afterwards. “We didn’t play too well, but we are happy to come away with a win.”
Sometimes, grinding it out is exactly what it takes.
As Matee Ajavon’s three-pointer with just seconds left ended up not counting, Mercury fans everywhere unquestionably exhaled in unison with a collective “phew!”
Trailing 99-96 with 4.5 seconds left, Ajavon was fouled as she made a three-point shot. However, the officials ruled that Ajavon was fouled prior to her make. Had it counted, Washington would’ve had a chance to take the outright lead with four seconds remaining.
Again, as Griner said above, this wasn’t necessarily the Mercury’s best-played game, but they found a way to win, 101-97. It was the team’s sixth win in the last seven games, and is now 6-1 after starting the season 0-3.
If you look at the box score, Phoenix did a lot of things right. They out-rebounded the Mystics 36-31, tallied 24 assists on 36 made shots, and shot 54 percent from the floor. Still, there were moments during the game where it just didn’t feel like the team was clicking. Indeed, there will always be games like this during a long season, especially on the second game of a tough road trip.
Ultimately, what matters most is that the Mercury found a way to win.
“We’re just learning to play well together on the court,” Brittney Griner said. “We’re starting to click now and getting that team chemistry.”
Diana Taurasi filled up the stat sheet again with 26 points, eight assists and four rebounds in just 32 minutes of play. Candice Dupree added a double-double (the 50th of her career) with 16 points and 11 rebounds while DeWanna Bonner stepped up to hit all 10 of her free-throws (eight of which were huge in the fourth quarter) en route to 22 points.
In spite of the Mercury trailing for most of the game and into the fourth quarter, Taurasi hit a tough turnaround jumper with 48 seconds left to tie the score. DeWanna Bonner then made eight-straight free-throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the deal.
“I just wanted to win,” said Bonner. “Free-throws are what I did to get [to the WNBA]. If I can’t make free-throws I shouldn’t be here. I just went up and knocked them down.”
The Mercury has won four-straight road games for the first time since June 21-25, 2011 (three-straight). Phoenix last won four-straight road games July 5-28, 2009, the same season the Mercury won its second championship.
Additionally, the Mercury has now shot 50.0 percent or better four times in 10 games this season, after doing so just twice in 34 games in 2012. Phoenix has now scored at least 90 points four times this season and four times in the last five games – all wins.
In their six total wins, the team has averaged 92.3 points per game. In their four losses, they’ve managed just 75.0 points per game.
Ah, the importance of making your free-throws...DeWanna Bonner made eight-straight inside the final 23.6 seconds. It's hard to see how the Mercury could've won had Bonner not been incredibly clutch.
Quote of the Night: DeWanna Bonner
“First half we were out of sync. But we were able to pull out the win. We knocked down our shots and just got more stops then they did.”