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It has been a tough week for the Phoenix Mercury, but they have a good opportunity to end it on a positive note.

Likely without star Diana Taurasi, the Mercury will try to snap a three-game losing streak Sunday against the winless Tulsa Shock.

Phoenix is coming off a pair of double-digit road defeats after learning mid-week that Taurasi would be out indefinitely with a strained left hip flexor.

The four-time reigning WNBA scoring champion has only played one full game, missing three and playing just 10 minutes in an 89-87 win at Tulsa on May 22.

The Mercury (1-4) are struggling offensively without Taurasi and point guard Penny Taylor (torn ACL), shooting 37.0 percent against Atlanta and San Antonio this week while failing to break 70 points in either defeat.

Short-handed and fatigued, Phoenix gave up 30 fast-break points and committed 21 turnovers in an 85-66 loss to the Silver Stars on Friday after losing by 16 points the previous night.

"I think this is my first back-to-back ever on the road," Candice Dupree told the Mercury's official website. "It's tough but we can't use it as an excuse because every other team has the same thing."

Dupree has taken on a bigger role with the team missing its top two scorers from last season, leading the Mercury with 19.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Rookie point guard Samantha Prahalis is averaging a league-best 6.2 assists but is shooting 34.1 percent and committing 3.8 turnovers per game.

Both players were key in the Mercury's win over the Shock last month. Dupree scored 31 points and Prahalis hit the go-ahead free throws with 22.2 seconds left.

Phoenix, which hasn't lost four in a row since August 2010, allowed Tulsa back into that game after leading by 11 with 4:42 to go. The victory was the Mercury's ninth in a row over the Shock.

Tulsa (0-5) has dropped 11 straight going back to last season, including a 76-58 defeat at Seattle on Friday. It was the team's 28th loss in 29 road games.

The Shock had seemingly made progress in their previous three games, losing by a combined six points, but fell apart in the second half against the Storm as they were outscored 40-23.

"We were hoping to get our first win tonight and it didn't go that way," said Jennifer Lacy, who scored a team-high 12 points. "We just didn't shoot well from the floor and that's the result. When you shot 28 percent it's hard to win."

Tulsa is shooting a WNBA-worst 35.7 percent while its opponents are connecting on a league-high 48.6 percent.

The Shock have opened 0-5 for a second straight season and now try to avoid their worst start since beginning a franchise-worst 0-13 in 2002, when the team was still in Detroit.



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