Shooting Woes Continue in Loss to Lynx

By Ben York,

With Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor on the bench supporting and cheering the Mercury on, the energy in US Airways Center was off the charts. Unfortunately, the team wasn’t able to find their collective shooting touch in spite of having good looks from the floor throughout the game.

There’s no other way to say it; it was just one of those nights.

Ironically, the Sparks had a similar night losing to the Dream 59-92. So did the Liberty falling to the Sun 55-97.

Here in Phoenix, the Mercury fell to the Lynx 60-78.

Converging tonight for the second time this season, the Lynx and Mercury are undeniably two teams on distinctly different paths in the big picture of their franchises.

Minnesota returned nine players from last season’s championship team, have just one rookie on their roster (Devereaux Peters), and tonight became the first team in WNBA history to start a season 10-0.

Phoenix, on the other hand, is coping with substantial injuries to 2011 All-Stars Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor, feature just four players who were on last year’s playoff team, and has six players with four years experience or less (the same number of Lynx players who have four or more years experience).

Nevertheless, it was the Lindsay Whalen show in Phoenix tonight – the All-Star scored 29 points on 11-14 shooting.

From the Mercury’s standpoint, ultimately, the story of the game was their continual struggle to make shots. The team hit just 19 field goals in 66 attempts – a 28 percent shooting average. Furthermore, they were 2-19 from the 3-point line and turned the ball over 17 times which led to 18 Lynx points.

“Our shots weren’t falling from the start,” Mercury point guard, Sammy Prahalis, said after the game. “It’s pretty frustrating. And then we had some turnovers in bad spots where they just kind of fed off those and made a couple of runs, so just a few mistakes on our own part. Not shooting well didn’t help either.”

On the bright side of things, Candice Dupree notched her second double-double of the season scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 boards. DeWanna Bonner paced the Mercury in scoring with 18 points, and Sammy Prahalis had seven points to go along with four assists (more on Prahalis in the ‘Notes’ section). Krystal Thomas was impressive in her 18 minutes of play putting up four points, seven rebounds, and blocking three shots.

“She [Thomas] played a great game,” Gaines said. “I told her that. She’s aggressive; she rebounded, and had three blocked shots. She was really aggressive and her demeanor was great.”

Still, in the end, it came down to the Mercury’s inefficiency from the offensive end of the floor.

“It’s tough when you’ve only scored 27 points at halftime,” Krystal Thomas said about the team’s struggles. “It’s hard to keep the intensity flowing and the rhythm in the offense when you can’t hit any shots. It’s something we’re obviously going to have to work on and what we need for the game on Sunday [against Tulsa]. Normally, the Mercury score 25-plus points a quarter, so we’ve just got to find a way to put the ball in the hole.”

After the game, Charde Houston tweeted: “We will keep working and grinding. We will stay together.”

Notes :

- Tonight marked the Mercury’s second game in 12 days, a far cry from the stretch of three games in four days. Next up, the Mercury plays two games in three days (Sunday at Tulsa) and the first of four games in nine days which ends a week from tomorrow against Los Angeles.

- Prior to tonight’s game, Sammy Prahalis had totaled 43 assists through her first seven games (she now has 47 assists through her first eight games) which tied for fifth-most in league history.

- In Phoenix’s four losses, one quarter has created an insurmountable deficit for the Mercury. Tonight it was the second quarter when the Mercury was outscored 22-11 and committed nine of its 17 turnovers, creating a 16-point halftime advantage for the Lynx (43-27).

- Candice Dupree’s double-double was her second on the season and 20th with the Mercury, extending her franchise record.

- The Bonner/Dupree duo, which entered tonight as the second-highest scoring tandem in the league, combined for 10 of Phoenix’s 19 field goals tonight and 29 of the team’s 60 points (48.3 percent).

- The Mercury heads to Tulsa to take on the Shock this Sunday, June 17. Watch the game on

LiveAccess .