Mercury Lose in Double Overtime

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com

In what can only be described as an incredibly strange, yet oddly entertaining game, the Mercury fell in double overtime to the Atlanta Dream, 100-93.

In the first quarter, both the Dream and the Mercury struggled to put the ball in the basket. The two teams combined for 9-38 shooting and 30 total points. Not much changed in the second quarter with the Dream hitting just eight field goals in the period to the Mercury’s six.

In spite of shooting just 25 percent from the floor, the Mercury actually led the Dream at halftime, 34-33.

The second half was a different story.

The Mercury opened the third quarter on a blistering 22-6 run, before Atlanta subsequently went on a 16-0 run to end the period.

Hot then cold.

“The lineup in there was Bonner, Houston, Kizer, Sanford, and Prahalis,” Corey Gaines said regarding the third period scoring drought. “We just couldn’t score. I called a timeout with an eight-point lead, and I could’ve called another timeout, but then I wouldn’t have had a timeout to set up the other play [later in the game which led to the first overtime]. It’s tough.”

Still, entering the fourth quarter, Phoenix led 56-55.

After a fluctuating final quarter, the game ventured into overtime…and then another overtime. Atlanta opened the second overtime with a 9-2 run after the Mercury missed eight consecutive shots. Sammy Prahalis hit back-to-back threes to break the streak but it wasn’t enough as the Dream secured the win by making four of their final six free throws.

The Mercury hit just 33 shots out of 103 attempts, which is certainly the key stat of the game. However, they also assisted on 17 of those shots, out-rebounded Atlanta 63-39, and forced 19 turnovers which led to 24 Phoenix points.

Indeed, what shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle is how hard the entire team played.

Make no mistake about it: This is a united team who continually says they win together and lose together.

That is something I’ll always respect, no matter the overall record.

On the bright side, Sammy Prahalis collected 21 points to score in double-digits in seven of her last eight outings. It was also her fourth 20-point game of the season, all coming in the last six games. DeWanna Bonner scored 27 points and tallied 15 rebounds for a franchise record-tying eight career 20-point, 10-rebound performance. It also marked her sixth straight 20-point performance, the longest of her career. Alexis Hornbuckle also had her best game in a Mercury uniform with a double-double, 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“I just wanted to make sure to bring the energy and just hit the open shots,” said Alexis Hornbuckle. I think I’ve been streaking, whether it’s rebounds or shots; I’m just trying to get consistency. We’re losing games and I’m not digging it.”

Notes

- Returning to the Valley for the first time this season, former Mercury point guard Ketia Swanier had six points, five rebounds, and five assists.

- Charde Houston scored 16 points, her fourth consecutive game with 16-plus points.

- The Mercury travels to Seattle tomorrow to take on the Storm at 6:00 p.m. PT. The game can be seen on LiveAccess.