Posts Tagged ‘ Diana Taurasi ’

Interview: Phoenix Mercury preview with SB Nation’s Kristofer Habbas

May 17, 2012 3:02pm
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Kristofer Habbas covers the Phoenix Mercury for SB Nation Arizona. He has been covering basketball for the past few years with Dime Magazine and shared his thoughts on Coach Corey Gaines’ fast-paced team from the Valley of the Sun. In his SB Nation season preview, Kristofer discusses how this year’s Mercury team, “with plenty of talent and new faces… will be one of the most interesting years in franchise history.”

Discuss the state of this offense without all-star Penny Taylor this season:

Offensively this team is going to struggle to replace Penny Taylor. They brought in Charde Houston to help some on the wing, but they have very little interior scoring with the current roster.  Alexis Gray-Lawson, and Houston will be adequate scorers on the perimeter to compliment Diana Taurasi. Plenty of options on the perimeter for scorers. The interior is another question, and the roster is not set yet to determine what options they will have down there.

What kind of impact can rookie Samantha Prahalis make? Do you think she can handle the PG position for an entire game?

Samantha Prahalis is a very talented passer and is gifted in the way she sees the floor, especially in transition. The running style of the Mercury will help her a lot in the transition from college to the WNBA. Her clear lack of strength will be a challenge for Coach Gaines to keep her on the floor. She was the smallest player on the court in the teams scrimmage against the Japanese National Team, and by a lot. With Gray-Lawson, and even the injured Alexis Hornbuckle on the team Prahalis will not need to play like an All-WNBA player this year.

Any players that will surprise this year or you expect improvement from?

Alexis Gray-Lawson will have a terrific year in the place of Penny Taylor. She is a scoring guard with great natural instincts. A lot of pressure can be taken off Diana Taurasi if she takes her game to the next level. Her scoring will allow Taurasi to be a play-maker at times and even run the point at times. Look for Gray-Lawson to make an impact as a scorer and potentially even a starter for this team.

Coach Gaines talked about wanting his team to push the pace even more after their first preseason game. Might we see an even faster paced Mercury team this season?

This team will run a lot this year – out of necessity. As mentioned a few times before this is not a big, talented team. Arguably the four to five best players on this team are perimeter oriented. Look for the Mercury to run and run often, which will highlight the team’s best assets, their guards.

 

WNBA Friday: Links to get you ready for tonight’s game

July 8, 2011 3:03pm
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NEW YORK at SAN ANTONIO

The New York Liberty travel to San Antonio, to take on the Silver Stars in a re-match of New York’s 81-75 victory one week ago. This game will be shown on NBA TV.

Tracey Jucey, of Sports Page Magazine, talks about Essence Carson who has come into her own this season. “Carson is on pace for a breakout season as the Liberty’s most consistent player so far in 2011. Averaging only 3.6 points per game in 2010, her offensive production has more than quadrupled with 14.4 points per game to date.”

One of the many reason for the success of the Silver Stars this season has been the play of their bench. Carolyn Peck, at ESPN W, talks about some of the players who have contributed to San Antonio great start, including rookie Danielle Adams. “After following Adams in the NCAA tournament and watching her lead Texas A&M to a national championship, I have to admit she is a new face who has dramatically captured my attention.”

 

PHOENIX at TULSA

In the other match-up of the night, two teams heading opposite directions will meet for the 1st of their two games in 3 nights, as the Mercury travel to Tulsa to take on the Shock. This game can be seen on Live Access.

Odeen Domingo, of the Arizona Republic, discusses how the Mercury have turned it around after a slow start to the season. Diana Taurasi on the slow start: ”I think in the last few weeks, everyone settled in a little bit, felt a little more comfortable on the court, and knew what we needed from each other to get some wins. Now we just have to continue to work hard and see where it takes us.”

Meanwhile, Tulsa is hoping to turn things around tonight, and one key to a victory is the continued emergence of center Liz Cambage. Jessica Lantz from Swish Appeal talks about the Australian center who ranks in the league’s Top 20 in 24 statistical categories, but has struggled to find her shooting touch. “While her ability to make the bunnies might be a statistical category with room to grow, keep in mind that Cambage is 19 years old. 19. What were you doing when you were 19? Save a very limited few NBA ballers like LeBron James, this is a situation like none other particularly in the women’s game.”

Observations from Opening Weekend

June 7, 2011 10:53am
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The 2011 WNBA season got underway last weekend. Here were some of the interesting observations:

-Maya Moore is that good. The rookie sensation averaged 18.5ppg in two games against the Sparks, a team high. She also made an array of offensive moves that left the Sparks veterans wondering what hit them.

-Speaking of the Lynx, they certainly have the best wing rotation in the entire WNBA. When you consider that they start two scoring wings (Seimone Augustus and Moore) and bring two scoring wings off their bench (Monica Wright and Candice Wiggins, with the latter doubling as a back-up PG), you’re reminded of just how deep and talented this Lynx team is in 2011. What remains to be seen is whether the lack of playable post depth will be a hindrance.

-LA and Tulsa are missing pieces. Tulsa could use more talent across the board, but attempting to use Amber Holt, a natural forward, as a back-up PG isn’t going to work for a team that wants to prove itself to be more than just a doormat. Ivory Latta is a fine talent, but she simply cannot go at it alone, as evidenced by the effort against San Antonio (seven of her team’s 28 turnovers).

LA would like to contend for a title this season, but it does not appear to be feasible at the moment. Starting PG Ticha Penicheiro looks noticeably a step slower this season, and there is no true PG backing her up. In fact, each of the two players who have been receiving back-up minutes at the point (Kristi Toliver and Natasha Lacy) have each accumulated six turnovers through two games. Not good.

-Diana Taurasi leads the league in scoring…again! But her 31-point effort wasn’t enough for Phoenix to overcome the defending champs (Seattle Storm) in Key Arena. Who led the Storm in that game production-wise? If you answered Camille Little, then you’re absolutely correct. Little fell one rebound short of a double double, as her 18 points and 9 rebounds led the Storm in both categories against the Mercury.

The Mercury only go as far as Taurasi Goes?

May 23, 2011 10:53am
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Diana Taurasi offers up a refreshing and honest interview with The Arizona Republic’s Dan Binkley. As one of the premier women’s basketball players in the world, a lot of the success of the Phoenix Mercury rests with Taurasi. After a break this off season, when Taurasi is normally playing in Europe, she sounds rejuvenated and focused on the Mercury’s quest for a championship. When losing in the Western Conference finals is a down year, you know the the goals by Taurasi and the Mercury are set high.

WNBA Notes from their Opening Training Sessions

May 17, 2011 10:36am
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Los Angeles Sparks: Notes from Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times. “Last year you pretty much knew who your starters would be,” she (coach Jennifer Gillom) said. “This year, it’s not that way.” After a long pause, she added, “Those are great problems to have.”

Phoenix Mercury: Notes from Odeen Domingo of Azcentral.com. Taurasi is not the only Mercury player with fresh legs. The rest of the team’s key players took some time off after finishing their seasons in Europe. And every player on the Mercury’s roster was present at their first practice of the season for the first time since 2009, when the Mercury last won a WNBA championship.

Seattle Storm: Notes from Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times. The Storm was the last team to close the opening day of WNBA training camp Sunday. “It’s basically because we only have less than three weeks before we play our first game, we don’t have a lot of time,” said Agler of the WNBA pushing training camp back to accommodate players’ year-round schedules but starting the season June 3. “And we need to get our numbers down so we can prepare.”

Washington Mystics: Notes from Andrew Rosen at WNBA.com. “I don’t want anybody thinking they can come into camp with the mindset that ‘I can coast and I’m going to start and play’. You are going to have to earn it. That just sets the tone for the season. Everything that we accomplish we are going to have to earn it. So we have to go into camp with that mentality,’ said Lacey.”

Taurasi to Return to Turkey but in New Colors

May 12, 2011 5:11pm
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Fanning the flames in Istanbul

To continue her intriguing and tumultuous off-season, Diana Taurasi  has agreed to return to Istanbul for the next Euroleague season, but not where one might expect. The Phoenix Mercury star has agreed to a deal with Galatasaray, who just so happens to be the fierce intercity rival of Taurasi’s former Turkish club Fenerbahce. This comes on the heels of Taurasi’s suspension and then retraction by the Turkish League for the use of a banned substance.

Injury Report