Mercury Win in Penny Taylor's Return
On the final game of their annual “Circus Trip,” the Mercury beat the Sun 89-70 tonight for their seventh win in the last eight games and their fifth straight road win – a franchise record.
The last time the Mercury won four-straight road games was in 2009, the same year the club won its second championship. This was also the first time in franchise history that the team swept a road trip of three games.
“It is the last game of three-game road trip and we wanted to finish strong,” said Candice Dupree after the game. “It was tough, a lot of stop and go, not the kind of pace we like to play. We like to get up and down a little bit more, but we built an early lead and just tried to expand upon that.”
Still, the return of Penny Taylor, perhaps, trumps all other notable stats from the game.
The long journey back to health hasn’t been easy for Taylor. Although she’s been practicing with the team for many weeks and felt great, there was certainly no need to rush her back to the court until she felt 100 percent confident.
Indeed, her perseverance in the midst of continual adversity should be an inspiration to all.
In her first action since September 27, 2011, Taylor returned to play 13 minutes and tallied an impressive eight points, three assists and two steals.
More significantly, however, she didn’t look passive or hesitant. Rather, she played like the Penny of old. She was actually on pace to score over 20 points had she played over 30 minutes (near her career average). Getting her wind back will come with more time on the floor.
“We still haven’t figured out a lot of things, but with Dee [Diana Taurasi] playing and DB [DeWanna Bonner] getting back on track and Penelope [Penny Taylor], she is like my little rock,” Head Coach Corey Gaines said. “She can only play about three minutes a quarter right now, but she is definitely a person that we depend on.”
In a game that featured 57 fouls called and 70 free-throws, the Mercury managed to set the tone from the beginning of the game. They out-rebounded the Sun 39-36, assisted on 14 of 31 made field goals, shot 47 percent from the field and forced the Sun into just 27 percent shooting from the floor.
Phoenix never trailed in the game and finished with a 44-18 advantage in points in the paint.
Again, several players filled up the stat sheet in the total team win. Candice Dupree had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Diana Taurasi added 19 points, five assists and five rebounds. DeWanna Bonner’s 19 points and eight rebounds were both team-highs.
“This is a tough team and they play really good at home,” said Diana Taurasi. “We found a way early to get in a good rhythm and we kind of didn’t really find it the rest of the game, but it was enough.”
With the Los Angeles Sparks losing to the Chicago Sky tonight, the Mercury now has sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
The 19 point deficit was the biggest win of the season for Phoenix and the biggest loss for the Sun.The Mercury recorded a franchise record fifth straight road win. It is the first time in franchise history Phoenix has swept a road trip of at least three games.
Quote of the Night: Corey Gaines on playing in Connecticut
“It’s a tough place to play. We call it the bubble; it’s not really reality here. You don’t see the sun, you don’t know what time it is. We came off a long road trip against some tough teams. I told them in adversity if you just all together push through it, good things will happen, but you can’t let any little things bother you.”