With a win on Sunday versus the Seattle Storm, the Phoenix Mercury set the record for most wins in a season (29), topping the mark set previously shared by Los Angeles (28-4 in both 2000 and 2001) and Seattle (28-6 in 2010). In the process, the Mercury clinched home-court advantage throughout the Playoffs.
History now behind them, the not-so-surprising question on everyone's mind is: what makes the Mercury so good? The answer, however, might be surprising. Here's what the players had to say.
Our chemistry. Team chemistry. And our bench. You know, our veteran players they step up every night, and, you know, we have people that come off the bench and give us valuable minutes and contribute. So our team chemistry and our bench play is definitely what helps us.
Talent. I mean that’s pretty obvious. This is a very talented team. And particularly the first five have spent a lot of time together and there’s a really good chemistry throughout the whole team. So I think chemistry would be the biggest as well as the coaching staff too. .
That we all like each other. The synergy we have. The commitment to being happy for each other when we do well. And I think that’s huge on the team.
I think our versatility because we score the ball. Anybody on any given night can score the ball. So I think just all of the options that we have on the offensive end (and of course we have great defense) but it’s really just the number of people that we have that can score the ball on any given night.
I think our versatility at every position. And team chemistry. Everybody’s playing really well. Somebody different scores big every night. And as long as we’re playing defense I think we’re unstoppable.
I think our team chemistry. I mean we’re great on the court and we’re great off the court and I think that’s what keeps us together ever if we’re having one of those struggle nights where shots aren’t falling, you come together as a team and you can tell we really have that team chemistry that gets us through those rough games.
I mean I think we got quite the weapon. You know, we don’t just have one or two people that do something every night. I mean of course we rely a lot on Diana and BG but on any given night Candice could score 25 and the next day DB can have 24. You’ve got bench players that can come off and really give some solid games and when you have that and when you have chemistry on top of that it’s like a double edge sword. You know, some days it really, really works for us and then other days we get so many turnovers because we pass the ball too much. So if that’s our only problem then we’ll take it.
Well I think there’s a few things, but I think one is versatility. We have people at every area of the floor that can really be aggressive, can be leading scorers in this league. We have a lot of offensive weapons. But I think we’re organized in such a way that gets people opportunities at the right area of the floor. A lot of options and a lot of unselfish people.
And with an outsider's perspective, Coach and former Liberty star Katie Smith offered this:
LIBERTY ASSISTANT COACHKATIE SMITH
Bottom line is that I think from top to bottom they’ve got a lot of players. I mean the starting five are all Olympians almost. It’s just they have a lot of talent, they have a lot of size, then on top of that they have smart basketball players and they play hard and they execute. So a combination of those things kinda put them at a place where you’ve got to have a really, really nice night to beat them.