Mercury-Silver Stars Preview
With Diana Taurasi being one of the league's best perimeter players and rookie Brittney Griner becoming a force down low, the Phoenix Mercury are proving to be an offensive threat from anywhere on the floor.
Phoenix seeks a fifth victory in six tries as it visits the San Antonio Silver Stars on Tuesday night.
Taurasi has recorded six straight 20-point games, including a 31-point performance in Friday's 90-82 win over Washington. She's averaging a league-best 24.6 points for the Mercury (4-4), who have bounced back from an 0-3 start.
The veteran guard also hit 10 of 11 free throws Friday as Phoenix frequently drove to the rim, much to the delight of coach Corey Gaines.
"We made it a point to attack the basket," Gaines told the team's official site. "I think what happens is sometimes you attack the basket and sometimes you don't get the call. In the back of your mind your thinking, 'I didn't get the call; I'm forcing it.'"
Gaines also was pleased that Griner, who scored a season-best 21 points and added four blocks, was assertive around the rim. Phoenix outscored Washington 44-22 in the paint.
''We had a little talk and she had been posting up on the block,'' Gaines said of Griner, the top overall pick who is averaging 15.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. ''She has been going outside that circle. She has to be staying inside the circle. Instead of being five feet away from the basket, she was three feet away from the basket.''
Taurasi believes the Mercury can be even more dangerous if they don't settle for outside shots.
"I think once we are aggressive like that, we feed off of it," Taurasi said.
After shooting a season-best 51.6 percent, Phoenix will look to stay hot against a San Antonio team coming off a 78-77 overtime win over New York on Sunday.
Shenise Johnson hit the winning jumper with 36.1 seconds remaining in OT as the Silver Stars (3-5) ended a four-game losing streak.
Danielle Robinson scored 18 points, Danielle Adams had 16, and DeLisha Milton-Jones added 15.
''Definitely proud of our effort, proud of the way we fought,'' Robinson said. ''We obviously let go of the (early) lead but the way we closed the game in regulation and in overtime ... we needed it and we buckled down and got it."
Coach Dan Hughes was excited his team finally was able to get over the hump.
''We're learning what it is to be in a game where they make a play and we make a play, they don't make a play we don't make a play,'' Hughes said. ''Glad to see us answer their baskets and stops. I thought we competed really well.''
Taurasi scored 25 points as Phoenix won the most recent matchup 94-90 on Sept. 1 to snap a four-game losing streak in the series.