Mercury comeback to win their second straight
It’s certainly been a tough season for the Phoenix Mercury.
If there were one word to describe this season so far: Frustrating.
Frustrating for the players, and the fans. Until tonight.
The Mercury were down seven at the end of the first. Taurasi already had nine, but nobody else on the Mercury had more than three.
The Merc trailed by 11 at halftime, after Taurasi was held scoreless in the 2nd quarter.
Phoenix was held to 28% shooting in the first half.
The Merc had a lot of trouble with Erika de Souza in the first half. She was contributing everywhere in the first half for the Sky.
De Souza had six points, four rebounds, three blocks, two steals, and two assists in the first half.
So, what did coach Sandy Brondello tell the Merc at halftime to get them fired up?
“Basically to hang in there,” Brondello said.
“There wasn’t any panic or frustration (at halftime),” Diana Taurasi said.
The Sky came roaring out of the gate in the 3rd quarter, trying to put the game out of reach, but Taurasi began to heat up and kept the Merc in the game.
However, Delle Donne was on fire, scoring at will, and there was nothing the Mercury could do at that point.
The third quarter was truly a Taurasi vs. Delle Donne battle.
Taurasi won 14-8.
The Mercury started the fourth quarter with Taurasi on the bench, which is a move that eradicated their momentum as they struggled out of the gate.
The Sky’s lead increased from four to eight in the blink of an eye.
Delle Donne hit a dagger with 5:30 left but Taurasi fired right back with a three of her own to reduce the lead to just four.
Taurasi could’ve trimmed the lead to just a basket when she was smothered by three Sky players, yet no foul was called. Refereeing calls seem to be a common issue in home games this year.
Then, Diana took over. The Merc were up 80-77 with just under two minutes remaining.
Cappie Pondexter then converted an and-one to tie the game.
DeWanna Bonner missed her next shot but gathered her own rebound and was fouled on the put-back. She sunk both free throws to put the Merc up 82-80 and the rest is history.
The Merc won 86-80.
Diana Taurasi led the way with 31 points and four rebounds, Britney Griner had nine points and ten boards, DeWanna Bonner had 2o off the bench, and Sonja Petrovic chipped in ten.
“Today was more of a testament of our will and our character, and that felt really good,” Taurasi said. “It was my birthday yesterday and what better way to celebrate it than to play basketball which is something I’ve been doing for so long.”
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Penny Taylor said.
Phoenix has now won four straight games at home.
Up next for the Mercury? A trip to Los Angeles Friday to where the Merc look to hand Candace Parker and the Sparks their first loss of the season.
“LA is always a big game for us. They’re gonna be ready for us, and we’re gonna be ready for them,” DeWanna Bonner said.
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