Weekend Recap: Mercury Rising in Week 4
|Diana Taurasi and the Mercury have won four straight games|
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Phoenix came out of last Sunday’s overtime game against the Fever with its first win of the season and has not looked back since. After starting the season 0-3 with losses to conference rivals Seattle, Los Angeles and San Antonio, the Mercury has since caught fire and pieced together a four game win streak.
Two of those wins came in back-to-back meetings this weekend while on the road in Atlanta Friday night and Chicago on Saturday.
“You know after 0-3 you can’t get too low and after four in a row you can’t get to high,” said Diana Taurasi. “Things in this league can change really quick, so you kind of just have to continue the course and play better and hopefully we are doing that.”
Evidence would suggest they are.
It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason for the team’s immediate turnaround, but that’s likely because the Mercury has a number of players they can rely on night in and night out. There is of course no way you can overlook Taurasi, who currently leads the Mercury with 20.3 points per game and came into the season as a favorite among general managers for the 2011 MVP Award.
But Taurasi’s receiving plenty of help from teammates Penny Taylor, who’s second on the team with 17.3 ppg, and Candice Dupree, currently averaging 16.4 ppg and a team-best 11 rebounds per game. With all three Mercury stars clicking, the current string of positive results should not come as much of a surprise.
“We had a slow start and this road trip we really got it together and I feel like that we are playing well and determined,” Taylor said after an 86-78 win over the Sky. “I feel like we found our legs again and running more and we’re feeling really positive about that.”
Taylor has scored in double-figures in all but one game so far this season, posting an early season-best 30 points against the Silver Stars last Tuesday. Dupree’s balance between scoring and rebounding has her at four double-doubles on the season and already a worthy recipient of Player of the Week honors for Week 2.
At this point in the season, the Minnesota Lynx hold the longest win streak with a total of five straight. That came to an abrupt end Friday night when the Storm stole a win on the road in Minneapolis. Phoenix will look to extend its own streak to five straight Tuesday night against the Fever before returning home Friday for a rematch against Chicago.
Here’s a look at how the rest of the games played out this weekend:
Phoenix 92, Atlanta 83
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry led all scorers with 24 points but it wasn't enough to help the Dream get past the Mercury.
San Antonio 90, Los Angeles 80
Becky Hammon hit the game-tying 3-pointer in regulation that allowed San Antonio to steal the win in overtime.
Seattle 65, Minnesota 55
The Storm snapped Minnesota's five game win streak in the first game without Lauren Jackson
Indiana 75, Connecticut 70
Renee Montgomery's 19 points helped the Sun defeat the Fever on the road.
Phoenix 86, Chicago 78
Phoenix cruised to its fourth straight victory thanks to 23 points from Diana Taurasi and another 19 from Penny Taylor.
San Antonio 92, Atlanta 86
Jia Perkins scored 25 and rookie Danielle Adams added 19 off the bench to give the Silver Stars the win.
New York 77, Los Angeles 67
Cappie Pondexter scored 22 points for the Liberty en route to New York's first win at the Prudential Center in Newark. Los Angeles' Candace Parker left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter and did not return.
Washington 83, Tulsa 63
Crystal Langhorne led all scorers with 23 points to give the Mystics their second win of the season.
Indiana 78, Minnesota 75
A healthy Katie Douglas dropped 22 points on the Lynx as Indiana hung on toward the end of the game to improve to 6-3.
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