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Phoenix, Arizona – Friday night, September 1st, the Phoenix Mercury (17-16) defeated the Connecticut Sun (21-12) at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.
These two teams matched up against each other on August 20th in Connecticut and the game wasn’t close as the Sun dominated the Mercury. The Sun separated themselves in the second half and looked like the superior team as they won in very convincing fashion 94-66. The Mercury definitely had added motivation for this game and it showed.
In the first quarter, Phoenix came out with great intensity on both ends as they did a great job of executing in the half court getting the ball to Brittney Griner in the post consistently.
The Sun tried to get the ball out of Griner’s hands by coming with strong double-teams but Griner did a great job of finding the open teammate.
The Mercury players also did a great job of cutting when Griner got doubled. The execution by the Mercury caused the Sun to play Griner straight up. Griner took full advantage of the one-on-one match-ups and scored 12 points in the quarter.
The first quarter ended with the Mercury up 21-11.
The beginning of the second quarter reminded us why the Sun came into the game with the best record in the eastern conference.
Connecticut started the quarter on a 7-0 run. Griner and Diana Taurasi started the second quarter on the bench and once they came back into the game the momentum shifted back to the Mercury as it resulted in a 16-4 run.
Phoenix continued to execute in the half court and controlled the pace, causing the Sun to play at a much slower pace than they normally do. Connecticut came into the game ranked first in possessions in the WNBA.
Phoenix led 41-24 going into halftime.
The third and fourth quarters were played evenly as the Mercury made timely plays to keep the lead.
Phoenix continued to get Griner the ball in her favorite spots as she posted on the left block over and over again.
The Mercury would not just come down and throw it to Griner in the post but they were running multiple actions before getting Griner the ball.
The lone bright spot for the Sun was forward Alyssa Thomas. She played with aggression and passion as she tallied 19 points for the game.
Phoenix was led by their two stars as usual with Taurasi scoring 15 points and Griner dropping 31 points. The Mercury beat the Sun, 86-66.
The playoffs are right around the corner and these games are very important when it comes to playoff positioning. Phoenix secured a home playoff game with this win. The game will be played at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, AZ.
The Connecticut Sun are no longer at the top of the Eastern Conference as the New York Liberty won on Friday night. The Liberty and Sun are both (21-12) going into the last regular season game with the Liberty owning the tie breaker.
Connecticut now needs a victory over the Los Angeles Sparks along with the New York Liberty losing to Dallas Wings to secure the 3rd seed in the playoffs.