Aug. 4, 2017

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Jonquel Jones had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Shekinna Stricklen made two free throws with 11 seconds left for a four-point lead and the Connecticut Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury 93-92 on Friday night.

Leilani Mitchell made a 3-pointer for Phoenix with 3 seconds left to pull within one. Stricklen missed two free throws at the other end and Cayla George’s shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

Alyssa Thomas added 18 points and seven rebounds for Connecticut (15-9). Jasmine Thomas scored 13 of the Sun’s 31 points in the first quarter and finished with 15.

Jones had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the first half for her fourth straight double-double.

Diana Taurasi made four 3-pointers and scored 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting for Phoenix (13-11). It was her third time in five games scoring 30-plus. Mitchell added five 3s and 17 points.

– Associated Press

Aug. 3, 2017

The Phoenix Mercury are improving at handling adversity, their coach says. 

They’ve won the last two games without 6-9 center Brittney Griner, still leading the WNBA in scoring, albeit against teams at the bottom of the league standings. But San Antonio, after losing 81-64 at Phoenix on Sunday, turned around to upset New York 93-81 on Tuesday, proving the any-win-is-a-good-win adage.

Griner, who suffered knee and ankle injuries July 14, is expected to be out for four more games. The next three are on the road starting Friday against Connecticut then Sunday vs. Washington, both 14-9 and a game ahead of the fifth-place Mercury (13-10). Phoenix is at Dallas on Aug. 10 and home against Seattle on Aug. 12.

MORE: Phoenix Mercury coverage

“I’d take .500, if you get anything more that that it’s an extra bonus,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said of the upcoming four games. “No game is easy without your best player. We’ve just got to hang in there. I think we’re getting better. They’re coachable, they’re trying. Now it’s just execution and doing the little things well and hopefully that’s good enough.”

The Mercury bench scored 41 of 81 total points against San Antonio, 43 of 86 against Chicago on July 28 and 41 of 91 against Atlanta (an overtime game) on July 25. That’s the sort of group production necessary to replace Griner’s 22.3 points per game and to keep guard Diana Taurasi (18.7 ppg) from trying to win games by herself. 

Taurasi scored a combined 65 points in losses to Indiana on July 19 and Atlanta then 22 in wins over Chicago and San Antonio. Guard Monique Currie has averaged 19 off the bench in the last two games with Camille Little and Cayla George having big games against Chicago. Rookie Alexis Prince played 20 minutes against the Sky and is emerging as a viable rotation player.

“Leaving that Chicago game, I said stay ready, your opportunity is coming,” Brondello said. “But when you get in, I want you to be aggressive, not passive. She’s got some really good skills. It’s hard to play 12 in this league, but she’s learned a lot just by watching and she’s getting the opportunity now.”

Prince is a 6-2 guard from Baylor taken as a third-round draft pick. She is long and athletic and will be playing in Spain after her first WNBA season. 

“I’ve been learning a lot,” Prince said. “Even though I haven’t been getting the time on the floor, I still feel I’ve been getting better. The speed is different, you’ve got to pick up on things a lot faster. I feel a lot more confident if she was to put me in now and I think they see every day my progression.”

Phoenix Mercury at Connecticut Sun

When: 4 p.m. Friday.

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Ct. 

Mercury: This is the first of three games in less than a month against Connecticut, the only team Phoenix has yet to play this season. Others are away Aug. 20 and at home Sept. 1. The Mercury also have two upcoming road games (Sunday and Aug. 18) against Washington, which will be without star forward Elena Delle Donne for 2-3 weeks due to a left thumb injury requiring surgery. 

Sun: C Jonquel Jones leads the WNBA in rebounding (11.3 pg) and is the top scorer (15.6 ppg) in a balanced attack. G Jasmine Thomas averages 14.7 points, F Alyssa Thomas 13.9 and G Courtney Williams 12.3. The Sun are without F Chiney Ogwumike for the season because of an Achilles injury suffered Nov. 30 while playing in China. Curt Miller is WNBA Coach of the Month for July when the Sun went 7-2. They are 13-4 since a 1-5 start, already equaling their 2016 win total.

Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner gives birth to twin girls

July 31, 2017

Phoenix Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner is the mother of twin girls. 

The Mercury confirmed an earlier report by Monday with a congratulatory tweet.

The Indiana Fever put out a tweet four days ago of Erica McCall saying Bonner, her sister, was in labor.

Bonner, 29, is married to Candice Dupree, who played for the Mercury from 2015-16 with the Mercury and now is with Indiana.

Dupree missed the Fever’s game at Connecticut on Sunday for personal reasons, reportedly to be with Bonner and their new children

The Mercury announced in March that Bonner would miss the season due to her pregnancy. She has played for Phoenix since 2009, earning WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year three times.

The 6-4 Bonner has averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in her career and played on WNBA championship teams in 2009 and 2014.

Bonner is expected to return to the Mercury next year.

The Mercury’s next game is Friday at Connecticut


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