Mercury 96, Shock 74

Efficient Mercury Offense Rolls Past Shock

By Ben York,
Posted: August 30, 2011

Itís hard to beat a potent Mercury team when they shoot 57 percent from the field, 44 percent from downtown, and make 23 free throws.

While Penny Taylor sat out with back spasms, the rest of the team stepped up to score 96 points turning the ball over just 12 times.

Leading the way was DeWanna Bonner who scored 25 points on 8-12 shooting including four three-pointers to go along with her nine rebounds. Bonner clearly looked confident in her shooting touch from the outside and was aggressive on the boards against a sizable Tulsa frontline. Other players in double-figures were Diana Taurasi (23), Candice Dupree (14), and Temeka Johnson (16).

The story of the game was how efficient the Mercury offense was. Scoring 96 points on just 58 total shots is nothing short of remarkable. Furthermore, turning the ball over 12 times and assisting on only 12 of the 33 made shots tells you Phoenix was simply on fire and there wasnít much the Shock defense could do to stop them. Nice to see, right?

Iím usually not a huge fan of the plus/minus stat (a way to summarize a playerís contribution to her team by measuring the difference in how the team plays with her on the court versus their performance with the player off the court) but I did see something pretty amazing in the box score.

All five Mercury starters had a plus/minus rating of at least +20 or more which, trust me, is unheard of (Dupree - +25, Bonner - +22, Sanford - +25, Taurasi - +20, Johnson - +20). Obviously, the Shock isnít a team that is in playoff contention but, on the other hand, they had won their last two games in impressive fashion and their confidence was as high as it has been all year. Iíve been consistently impressed with how hard the Shock plays every night in spite of their record; tonight was no different.

In my humble opinion, the most encouraging part of the game was the Mercuryís continual effort throughout all four quarters. Keep in mind, this was the third game of a four-game road trip and it would have been easy for them to become complacent. Instead, Phoenix clearly made a point to force the Shock into difficult shots along the perimeter. When this happens, coupled with proper Mercury box outs, it leads to long rebounds and an increase in Phoenix fast breaks.

Last, but certainly not least, with the win Corey Gaines became the all-time winningest coach in Mercury franchise history, surpassing Cheryl Miller. Congrats, coach!

Phoenix takes on the Silver Stars in San Antonio Thursday before returning to Phoenix to host the Los Angeles Sparks Saturday, September 3.