Three Keys to a Mercury Victory

By Ben York,
Posted: September 17, 2011

"We get to go back to Phoenix for Game 2 and take care of our home court. That’s all there is to really say.” – Diana Taurasi

They’ve been here before.

They know what’s at stake.

They know what to do.

Win tonight and you never know what can happen. Momentum and a unified belief in each other go a long way. Even when the chips are down.

Basketball can be made into a complicated sport at times. I’m of the belief that at its core, it’s a simple, beautiful game and it’s imperative that you do the little things well or you cannot function at a more complex level.

For the Phoenix Mercury, it boils down to three essential things:

1. Energy: I know it sounds cliché but energy affects everything else this team does. Energy leads to rebounds. Rebounds lead to breaks, breaks lead to shots, shots lead to points. In an elimination game, energy can be the difference between a win or a loss. In fact, the Mercury really has no choice at this point.

They have to be the ones diving after loose balls.

They have to be the ones who give that second and third chance at an offensive rebound.

They have to be the team who is the aggressor on both ends of the floor.

2. Rebounding: While it has been a key to every Mercury win this season, it is especially more so tonight as the Storm outrebounded the Mercury in Game 1 by 14.

As I mentioned above, when the Mercury controls the glass it usually leads to positive results. Not having Nakia Sanford hurt them in Game 1 but they’ll need to adopt a gang-rebounding mentality regardless tonight if they want to win.

Not only do rebounds lead to more breaks, but it also prevents second-chance points. In Game 1, the Storm had 20 second-chance points which absolutely killed the Mercury. Again, these usually come from the team who has more energy and hustle and that’s how the Mercury will need to approach the game tonight.

3. Play their game: If we’re honest, nothing about Game 1 felt familiar from the Mercury. They weren’t smiling, didn’t have fun, and didn’t play their game. While there are a million reasons why this happens in professional sports, when a game like that happens, it is imperative that you flush it out of your system and move forward.

Can’t look back.

They say that sports are 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. I’m not sure if I agree with that completely, but I do agree that there are times you simply have to make a choice to be great.

Today. Now.

For all 11 women on this team, trust me, they’ve made that choice.

Oh, by the way, I knew I forgot something…

They’ll need the X-Factor to be LOUD!