Mercury notebook

Team Back in Playoff Hunt

By Matt Paulson,
June 28, 2008

The numbers do not paint a pretty picture for the Mercury. They are last in the league in defensive scoring and second to last in defensive field-goal percentage. They’re allowing the most rebounds and assists in the league.

They are a conference-worst 1-5 against the West and only a .500 team at home.

Yet by late Sunday Phoenix could be in playoff position.

A win Sunday at Connecticut coupled with a loss by Seattle, which hosts Washington, would tie the Mercury for fourth in the West.

“It’s a matter of us getting these wins, and we’re right there,” guard Cappie Pondexter said Saturday. “We can’t let them go.”

A victory alone would make Phoenix a .500 team for the first time this season and pull it to within 1 1/2 games of second place in the conference.

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One of the keys to the Mercury’s resurgence — 4-1 the past two weeks — has been a reduction of turnovers. After committing 64 through the first four games, Phoenix is now averaging the fewest in the league at 13.8.

The Mercury’s climb up the standings has also been aided by the struggles of most of the West’s other teams. Sacramento has struggled in its last six games. Minnesota is 3-6 since its league-best 5-0 start, and Seattle and San Antonio are a combined 3-11 on the road.


Diana Taurasi, who recently passed Jennifer Gillom to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, is featured in the WNBA’s latest “Expect Great” commercial.

In the ad, Taurasi discusses what it’s like to be in a scoring zone, something with which she’s very familiar.

Taurasi is tied for the most 40-point games in league history (two) and her 19.9 career scoring average is second in WNBA history to Cynthia Cooper (21.0).

A link to the commercial can be found at


Rookie forward LaToya Pringle, who averaged 15 minutes a game in her first six games, has played only 11 minutes combined the last two games.

Coach Corey Gaines said Pringle’s left knee, which she had surgery on before the season, has been sore of late but added it’s nothing serious.

“We didn’t want to force the issue. She’s still rehabbing,” he said. “It’s not 100 percent yet. It’s more of a precaution.”

COPYRIGHT 2008, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.