Posts Tagged ‘ Phoenix Mercury ’

WNBA Weekend in Review

July 18, 2011 9:34am
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The 2011 season is moving along quickly as the All-Star game is this Saturday. After tonight’s game between San Antonio and Los Angeles, every team will have played between 13 and 15 games.  Besides probably Tulsa, every team still has a legitimate shot at a playoff spot.

Going streaking:

The Phoenix Mercury head into their re-match against the Minnesota Lynx with their league leading 6-game win streak on the line and first place in the Western Conference.  Last game saw the Mercury storm back in the closing minutes to take a 112-105 victory, in the highest scoring game of the season.

The Tulsa Shock have now lost a league leading 9 games in a row. After leading the Sparks for most of Friday’s game, Tulsa couldn’t generate the necessary scoring chances once the Sparks stopped turning the ball over. The Shock will have a chance to re-group as they don’t play again until Tuesday after the All-Star break, hosting the Atlanta Dream.

There’s no place like home:

After a short 1-2 road trip, and two double-digit losses, the Connecticut Sun returned home to the comfy confines of the Mohegan Sun and defeated the Indiana Fever on Sunday. The Sun are undefeated at home, at a perfect 6-0.

Meanwhile the Seattle Storm finish up three game road trip tomorrow at Chicago before heading home. The Storm now stand at 2-5 on the road with their two wins coming against Tulsa and a Mystics team that was missing Crystal Langhorne. Seattle is coming off two road losses including a 69-62 defeat to Minnesota on Saturday.

The bottom of the Eastern Conference:

Although the Washington Mystics are 6 games behind Eastern Conference leading Indiana, they only trail 4th place Chicago by 3 games and have more than half a season left to play.  The Mystics showed lots of resolve in their overtime win over the Sparks, where they mounted the 2nd biggest comeback in WNBA history. Even in the last of their 5 game road trip, and a season full of injuries, Washington showed they should not be forgotten yet.

Just above Washington is the preseason conference favorite Atlanta Dream. Atlanta has been possibly the biggest disappointment this season, but put together their best effort on Saturday. Even playing without Sancho Lyttle, Atlanta looked like the team many pundits believed we would see before the season.

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.”

Part 2: Thoughts and stats through the first two weeks of the WNBA season

June 23, 2011 11:59am
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PART 2 of 2

Part 2 of our quick takes and looks at some of the underlying stats for each team in the league.

 

New York: Between learning a new scheme under new head coach John Whisenant, and having Pondexter handle more of the point guard duties, the Liberty have gotten off to a slow start.  Don’t be surprised to see this white-line defense turn a corner, as Whiz’s Monarch teams were consistently among the league’s best defensively.

Did you know: New York has yet to keep an opponent under 100 efficiency for a single game. The Sparks scored over 1.18 points/possession in their latest outing.

 

Phoenix: With a healthy and rested Diana Taurasi, the Mercury looked to be a team that would run out of the gate to start the season. Combined with a difficult schedule and poor defending the Mercury lost their first 3 games, but have since gained some momentum with two straight wins.

Did you know: Not that it is anything new with the Mercury, but they they are the only team to score and allow more than 1.06 points/possession. With coach Gaines, a Westhead disciple, don’t except to see Phoenix stop flying up and down the court anytime soon.

 

San Antonio: With coach Hughes back on the sideline, and the emergence of rookie Danielle Adams, the Silver Stars are one of the early season surprises. They were the league’s only undefeated team before Tuesday, as they fell in their rematch with Phoenix, playing without star Sophia Young.

Did you know: The Silver Stars lead the league in offensive efficiency and are the only team to top 100 offensive efficiency in every game this season.

 

Seattle: With essentially the same team back from their 2010 championship season and the addition of Katie Smith, the Storm were expected to start right where they left off. Instead, the defending champs have started slow in part to Lauren Jackson, who is not 100% healthy. Despite injuries, they still stand at 3-2 and welcome Minnesota to the Key Arena for a 2nd time this season.

Did you know: Seattle has recorded the single worst offensive output in a game this season, where they scored only 50 points in approximatively 75 possessions in a loss to Los Angeles on June 19th.

 

Tulsa: After suffering two blowout losses at the hands of the Silver Stars, the Shock have since been more competitive although have only one win to show for it. 2nd overall pick, Liz Cambage has given Tulsa an inside presence, but they have suffered from lack of depth at the guard position after losing Amber Holt for an extended period of time.

Did you know: After Thursday’s game at home against New York, the Shock will have been the first team to play 8 games, with the latest three games played at home.

 

Washington: No team might have experienced more turnover during the offseason than the Mystics. They lost Smith, Harding, and then Currie to injury (and Beard has yet to play this season). They brought in Anosike and a new coach in Lacey Trudi. One constant from last season has been the continued great play of Langehorne. One constant from this season has been atrocious defense.

Did you know: The Mystics have the lowest scoring bench in the league at 12 pts per game. That is more than 9 pts below the league average.


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.

Weekend Preseason Recap

May 30, 2011 2:15pm
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Saturday, May 28th:

The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the Phoenix Mercury 83-72, in a preseason game played at The Pit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Sparks started the game well, leading 26-13 after the first quarter. “I’m very pleased with my team tonight” said Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom, “I thought the energy was there, the aggressiveness was there, and tonight told me a lot.”

This game concludes the Sparks preseason, as they open up at home Friday, against the Minnesota Lynx at Staples Center. Phoenix travels to Seattle to face the defending champions on June 4th.

Sunday, May 29th:

The Atlanta Dream defeated  Great Britain 82-51, in the Dream’s only preseason game played in Manchester, England and the WNBA’s first game in Europe.

From James Bowman at Swish Appeal, “Coco Miller got off to a hot start in the first quarter, scoring seven of the first nine points for Atlanta and scoring 11 total first-quarter points.  (She would finish with 10-for-12 shooting and score 21 points.)  The Dream went to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter and never looked back.”

In the 3rd preseason game of the weekend the Seattle Storm defeated the Tulsa Shock 76-71.

After missing the game against Los Angeles, both Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird returned to the starting lineup as Seattle raced out to a 24-6 1st quarter lead and 45-25 halftime lead.

2nd overall pick Liz Cambage let her emotions get the best of her.  ”I was so nervous,” she said. “The first quarter I was so sick and had to run back and get it out of my system. But even getting off the plane yesterday, I was just so nervous going into training.”

Some additional thoughts from Jayda Evans’s in-game thread can be found here.

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.

What’s In a Name?

April 20, 2011 6:11pm
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In the past few weeks the Washington Mystics became the 5th WNBA team to feature a company logo on the front of their jerseys. The Mystics have partnered with Inova Health System, a healthcare system in Northern Virginia. The Mystics will also feature new colors, which are patriotically fitting with their location in our nation’s capital. 

The Los Angeles Sparks also just unveiled their new jersey and logo with their sponsor Farmers Insurance.  Unlike the past two seasons, this year’s logo will be a strictly all-caps text logo. This is the 3rd year for Farmers as the jersey sponsor of the Sparks.

The Phoenix Mercury/Lifelock partnership continues this season. The Mercury have also unveiled a new jersey which looks similar in color and design to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

Microsoft’s search engine Bing will return to the front of the Seattle Storm’s jerseys for 2011; the home white seen here and the away green jerseys seen here. StormTracker has a post showing the evolution of the Storm’s jerseys.

The 5th team to display a sponsor’s logo on the front of their jerseys is the New York Liberty who inked a deal with Foxwoods Resort Casino prior to the start of last season. Foxwoods is the rival casino to the Mohegan Sun who owns the aptly named Connecticut Sun.

As well as mentioning the specific jersey changes above, every team in the league will have redesigned jerseys for the upcoming season. The new jerseys from Adidas are 30 percent lighter and dry twice as fast.

Injury Report