Mercury coach Sandy Brondello and guard Diana Taurasi on Brittney Griner’s apparent knee injury in loss to Minnesota
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Mercury coach Sandy Brondello and guard Diana Taurasi discuss their team’s comeback win over the Atlanta Dream in Phoenix on Wednesday. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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Azcentral sports report Andrew Vailliencourt gets to know Mercury guard Yvonne Turner. By Sam Caravana/azcentral
Sam Carvana/azcentral sports
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Three-time WNBA champion Penny Taylor was honored in a postgame ceremony at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday. Taylor played 10 seasons with the Mercury and is currently the team’s director of player development.
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Mercury coach Sandy Brondello on her team’s win over Washington.
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Mercury coach Sandy Brondello on her team’s loss to Minnesota.
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Monique Currie talks about her return to the Phoenix Mercury after being traded by San Antonio. Video: Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton revealed the official renaming of 1st Street in downtown Phoenix to ‘7489 Taurasi Way’, in honor of Diana Taurasi becoming the WNBA career scoring leader. Video: Johanna Huckeba/azcentral sports
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Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi discusses breaking the WNBA all-time career scoring record at Mercury practice on Wednesday. Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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The Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi has reached many milestones in her college, WNBA and Olympics career.
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Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello talks about guard Diana Taurasi becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer on Wednesday. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Taurasi and Mercury coach Sandy Brondello after win over Chicago on Friday
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Sandy Brondello and Diana Taurasi on 89-87 loss Saturday
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Diana Taurasi talks about her record-breaking 3-pointer and the Phoenix Mercury’s outlook for the rest of the season.
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Phoenix Mercury All-Star Diana Taurasi: Warriors or Cavaliers? By Rob Schumacher
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Coach Sandy Brondello, Diana Taurasi react to the Mercury’s 42-point win over Dallas.
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The Phoenix Mercury rebound from opening loss to dominate Indiana Fever, May 17, 2017.
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Diana Taurasi talks about the signing of her multi-year contract extension with the Phoenix Mercury. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Camille Little talks about joining the Phoenix Mercury at the start of at training camp. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Brittney Griner injured in Mercury loss
Brondello, Taurasi discuss Mercury’s progress and victory
Q&A with Mercury guard Yvonne Turner
Penny Taylor speaks after her number is retired by Phoenix Mercury
Sandy Brondello talks win over Mystics
Sandy Brondello talks loss to Lynx
Monique Currie rejoins Phoenix Mercury
Phoenix renames 1st street in honor of Diana Taurasi
Diana Taurasi talks about becoming WNBA’s all-time leading scorer
Diana Taurasi career accomplishments
Mercury coach Sandy Brondello talks about Diana Taurasi
Diana Taurasi nears WNBA scoring record
LA Sparks edge Phoenix Mercury
Diana Taurasi is the best 3-point shooter in WNBA history
Phoenix Mercury All-Star Diana Taurasi: Warriors or Cavaliers?
Mercury win by largest margin ever
Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner scores career high 32 points
Diana Taurasi: ‘This is where I want to play the rest of my career’
Phoenix Mercury forward Camille Little: ‘This is going to be a great team’
The Mercury could not take advantage of a 34-point performance by Diana Taurasi on Wednesday, suffering an 84-77 loss to the Indiana Fever at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Taurasi had scored 31 points by the nine-minute mark of the third quarter with the Mercury ahead 59-57. But four personal fouls, including a Flagrant 1 and a technical, forced her to the bench as the Fever went on a 27-18 run to close out the game.
“It was a winnable game. These are the ones in the long run that really hurt,” Taurasi said. “Indiana played well, they did a lot of things well out there. And at the same time we did as well, but we just didn’t have enough to close it out at the end.”
The Mercury have now lost three straight games and are 0-2 since losing the WNBA’s leading scorer, Brittney Griner, to injury on Sunday in Minnesota. The Fever, who are in last place in the Eastern Conference, snapped a five-game losing streak with the win.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the result,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “We had too many breakdowns defensively and offensively we just missed too many shots. We can’t just rely on (Diana) to do it. We’ve lost a real special player for us, but others just need to step up.”
In a game with several lead changes, Taurasi executed a three-point play with 30 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Mercury a 39-38 lead at the half. She had 19 points at the break and finished 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
Taurasi, who last month became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, was called for a Flagrant 1 with seven minutes left in the third quarter, a call that was contested by the Mercury coaching staff and resulted in the ejection of assistant coach Todd Troxel.
“It’s the same old thing in this league,” Taurasi said of the officiating. “Everything gets better except certain things.”
Four minutes later, Taurasi picked up her fourth personal and was called for a technical foul.
“Terrible. That’s what Diana gets every single game, and it’s tough for her in that regard,” Brondello said. “They’re the ones calling it, and we probably lost our composure there a little bit. All I ask is that the right fouls get called, and that’s all. Hopefully we’ll see an improvement moving forward.”
With Taurasi on the bench, the Fever took advantage.
“Every time you take your best player off the floor, that’s going to happen, and they took advantage of that,” Brondello said. “We just need others to step up here.”
For Taurasi, it was her second 30-point game of the season. The only other Mercury player in double digits was Monique Curry, who finished with 12. Erica Wheeler led the Fever with 20 points, and former Mercury forward Candice Dupree added 17.
With Griner — who was named a Western Conference All-Star earlier this week — down with her injury, the Mercury are going to need more that just Taurasi to win games in her absence.
“Obviously Diana is going to get a lot of attention each game, so we need to step up and take some pressure off her,” Brondello said. “It’s a close battle out there. We’ve lost a great player, but we’ve got to hold our heads high and try to win as many games in her absence.”
Mercury look to regroup vs. Fever
With elite center Brittney Griner and star guard Diana Taurasi both absent from the team’s 81-66 loss to the Lynx on Sunday in Minnesota, the Mercury will look to regroup when they host the Indiana Fever on Wednesday at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The game tips off at 12:30 p.m.
Griner, the WNBA’s leading scorer with 22.3 points per game, suffered a left knee bone bruise and a right ankle sprain in Friday’s loss to the Lynx in Phoenix. She is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
Griner was named a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team on Tuesday, but won’t play in Saturday’s All-Star Game in Seattle.
For Taurasi, who became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer last month, she did not make the trip to Minnesota in order to get some rest. She and Griner had been averaging more than 40 points combined per game.
RELATED: Phoenix Mercury schedule
And the Lynx, the top-ranked team in the Western Conference, took advantage – riding an 18-0 third-quarter run to sweep the home-and-home set. Now, the Mercury will have to find a way to supplement Griner’s elite scoring ability.
“From the post plays, no one’s gonna fill BG’s shoes,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “But we need a little bit more from each and every one of them in the post. I want them to play to their strengths and not to do more than they need to, but being aggressive.”
Taurasi is expected to be back in action on Wednesday, and despite the back-to-back losses the Mercury aren’t ready to hit the panic button yet.
“We won four in a row and then lost two to Minnesota, the best team, so we’re not panicking at all,” Brondello said. “I thought we had a real good three quarters in Minnesota up until those last few minutes. We’ve just got to be consistent and make sure other people are stepping up and filling the hole.”
Phoenix (11-8) will look to build off the contribution it got from rookie Yvonne Turner, who posted a career-high 18 points on Sunday in Minnesota. Turner, the league’s oldest rookie at 29 years old, prides herself on being a spark plug on both ends of the court.
“I like to start with defense,” Turner said. “I like to make havoc on the defensive end but on offense I like to contribute any way I can – whether that’s distributing or scoring.”
The Fever (7-12) currently occupy last place in the Eastern Conference and enter Wednesday’s contest losers of five straight games. Indiana is led by former Mercury forward Candice Dupree, who is averaging 13.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
The Mercury will look for options up and down the roster to replace the scoring output from Griner, who was present at team practice on Tuesday. She wore a walking cast on her right ankle, a knee brace on her left leg, and was walking on crutches – but it didn’t stop her from taking some free throws and practice was wrapping up.
Still, the Mercury realize she won’t be in playing shape for close to another month. Now, they’ll look for someone to step up.
“We’re not going to change our game plan,” Turner said of Griner’s absence. “We have a great group of girls, we just need to step up another level. Most importantly, we just have to come out and play as a team and win as a team.”
This is the fifth of seven games that will be live streamed on Twitter this season.
The WNBA All-Star Game is Saturday in Seattle.
Indiana Fever at Phoenix Mercury
When: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Mercury: Phoenix (11-8) is coming off two straight losses to the Minnesota Lynx after a season-high, four-game win streak. The Mercury will be without WNBA leading scorer Brittney Griner, who suffered a right ankle sprain and left knee bone bruise in Friday’s game against the Lynx. The team expects to have guard Diana Taurasi back in action after skipping Sunday’s trip to Minnesota for rest purposes. The Mercury will look to supplement Griner’s scoring from up and down the roster. “We’ve just got to keep playing as a team, and that’s where our success will come from,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said.
Fever: Indiana (7-12) has lost five straight games and is in last place in the Eastern Conference. Candice Dupree leads the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game. The Fever visited Phoenix earlier this season and lost, 85-62, on May 17. Indiana hosted the Mercury on June 7 and fell short, 98-90. Erica Wheeler scored a career-high 24 points in the home loss, and Dupree added 23. It was the first game since 2014 that the Fever had two players score 20 or more points in the same game.