Taurasi Scores 23 in Loss to Sparks
Without the presence of Brittney Griner (day-to-day with a sprained knee) and Lynetta Kizer (day-to-day with a strained knee) in the paint, the short-handed Mercury fell to the Los Angeles Sparks today, 88-76.
Locked in a battle for playoff position, the Mercury and the Sparks have now split the first two contests of the series with two games remaining, July 18 and Sept. 15 at Staples Center.
But, yes, there is a silver lining.
Now at 8-7 on the season, the Mercury was also 8-7 after 15 games in its 2007 WNBA Championship season. Phoenix’s seven losses have been to opponents with a combined record of 62-34.
Still, with multiple players banged up and not able to contribute, the most important thing the Mercury can do is continue to “grind” through this tough stage of the season.
“We tried to get some pacing, but they were scoring,” Corey Gaines said after the game regarding his limited lineup. “Lindsey Harding is a smart point guard. Instead of shooting the jump shot she drove into the paint. She shot a four-footer instead of just taking the long shot.
“She did the right thing.”
WNBA scoring leader Diana Taurasi recorded consecutive 20-point efforts for the first time since June 6-21 (six-game streak). Her 23 points was her ninth 20-point game this season and her third in the last six games.
“Today that did not happen,” Taurasi said about the team’s execution. “Not executing on offense. We get positions where we take bad shots and that gives them a good opportunity to run. They do a better job of that. We fought for forty minutes; it just wasn’t our day today.”
The game was physical on both ends of the floor from start to finish. A total of 44 fouls were called with a combined 49 free-throws attempted. The Sparks out-rebounded the Mercury 37-27 and tallied 19 assists on their 34 made shots.
The advantage in rebounding for Los Angeles led to 21 fast break points compared to the Mercury’s 10. In the Mercury’s last two games, both losses without starting center Brittney Griner, Phoenix has been outscored in the paint giving up an average of 45 points down low per game.
“Obviously we need size,” said Candice Dupree. “Brittney Griner is 6-8; she can really help. She is hard for people to drive around and she takes up a lot of space in a good way and right now that is what we are missing. In the past we have been without that, we’ve won games.
“We need to figure out how to get back to that.”
Penny Taylor scored 10 points, recording consecutive double-digit scoring performances for the first time this season and the first time since an 11-game streak from July 28-Aug. 26, 2011.
Quote of the Night: Diana Taurasi on the team's next few games
"We have to get healthy and go from there.”