Short-Handed Mercury Fall to Silver Stars
Without Brittney Griner (sprained left knee) and Lynetta Kizer (strained right knee), a short-handed and undersized Mercury squad wasn’t able to make up for their lack of size in the paint today falling to the Silver Stars, 88-80.
A quick glance at the box score reveals one glaring flaw for today’s game: turnovers.
Phoenix had 20 which resulted in 24 Silver Stars points. In spite of the Mercury shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor, out-rebounding the Silver Stars 27-24 and hitting six three-pointers, San Antonio’s efficiency was too much for Phoenix to overcome.
The Silver Stars shot 53 percent from the floor, turned the ball over just 12 times and assisted on 21 of their 35 made field goals.
“They scored forty-something points in the paint,” said Corey Gaines after the game. “That is entirely too much. We couldn’t get any stops. It wasn’t just one person; it was the whole team. We did not necessarily shoot the ball bad.”
Indeed, several players had solid games, but it wasn’t quite enough to get Phoenix over the hump late in the fourth quarter.
Candice Dupree scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 (.643) shooting, her most in a game this season and most since May 26, 2012 (24 points vs. Los Angeles). It was Dupree’s second 20-point effort in her last three games and third overall this season, after recording just two in all of 2012 (missed 21 games due to left knee injury).
Dupree also shot 64.3 percent (9-of-14) from the field today, her second-straight shooting performance of at least 60.0 percent and fifth overall this season. Dupree, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in career field goal percentage, has shot better than 50.0 percent from the field nine times this season.
“I go in with that mindset every game whether we play well or not,” Dupree said. “Somebody has to get us going so if I have to be the one then I have no problem with that. We have to start off aggressive and finish aggressive. I know we were in the game up until the fourth quarter but even the first three quarters didn’t go well. They just took away the little stuff. The guards on the down screen, they disrupted the rhythm. It’s just little stuff like that.”
Mercury center Krystal Thomas played 30 minutes with an incredibly tough job of having to guard both Danielle Adams and Jayne Appel, but San Antonio’s 44 points in the paint ultimately sealed the deal. San Antonio became the first WNBA team other than Minnesota to beat the Mercury since June 2 at Seattle.
“They played better than us for forty minutes,” Diana Taurasi said. “Defensively they did better things than us, offensively they executed. We didn’t do much on our end to combat that.
“They pretty much beat us today.”
Looking at the bright side, DeWanna Bonner eclipsed the 2,000-point plateau with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter. Additionally, Penny Taylor finished with a season-high 14 points on 5-8 shooting. In four games this season, Taylor is averaging 8.0 points on 52.2 percent shooting and 2.0 rebounds in just 13.5 minutes per game.
With the game tied at 74-74 with 4:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Silver Stars went on a 9-1 run over the next 1:47 to take an eight-point lead. Phoenix did not get closer than six for the remainder of the game. In the run, San Antonio made both field goal attempts and sank all five free throws, capped by two free throws from Jayne Appel and Diana Taurasi’s sixth foul.
Quote of the Night: Diana Taurasi on Looking Ahead
“We just have to get back in the gym and work. There’s not much to be said. If you want to talk winning games then we have to go back into the gym and work, get better, and be prepared. We need to scout better and implement that and if we do that then we will be better.”