Sue Bird knows what it is like to be on a team that’s rolling like the Phoenix Mercury. She’s looking to prevent it from continuing Tuesday night.
Bird’s Seattle Storm have been blown out three times this year by the Mercury, who seek to clinch a playoff berth and stretch their franchise-record win streak to 13 games.
Seattle (9-15) is two games behind Los Angeles for the fourth and final Western Conference postseason spot as it finally hosts Phoenix (18-3), which captured the first three meetings at home by an average of 17.3 points.
The Mercury have dropped 12 of their last 15 regular-season visits to Seattle, including both last season.
They are trying to become the first team to win 13 straight since the Storm did it June 18-July 30, 2010. That’s the third-longest win streak in league history.
Phoenix has been led in scoring by a different player in each game of the season series, with Brittney Griner averaging a team-best 17.0 points in the three contests.
"Obviously they just have a ton of talent when you look at their team from top to bottom, they really have a lot of versatility, they’re tall and each player, they probably could have had more than three All-Stars, to be honest," said Bird, who has totaled 14 points in the first three matchups. "And you add the fact that they play really well together, it just makes them tough."
This will be the second time the Mercury will face the Storm with Penny Taylor in the starting lineup after she scored 14 in 18 minutes in a 78-58 rout July 9. Taylor totaled seven points off the bench in the first two meetings.
She scored a season-high 23 points in Thursday’s 101-85 win over Connecticut, Phoenix’s highest-scoring effort of the year.
‘When you play on a team like this, the attention is sometime elsewhere,” Taylor said. ”You have to have so much focus on BG (Griner), Diana (Taurasi), Candice (Dupree) and DB (DeWanna Bonner), and I think sometimes I can sneak in there and get a few easy ones."
Taurasi’s 17.8 scoring average would be her lowest mark in a full season since her second year in the league in 2005. She’s fifth in the WNBA in points.
Seattle fell 86-63 at home to Connecticut in its latest game last Tuesday. Camille Little scored a team-high 14.
The Storm did not have guard Shekinna Stricklen, who suffered a strained neck July 13 and is day to day.