Storm-Mercury Preview

The last two times the Phoenix Mercury started out this well, they went on to win the WNBA title.

Clicking offensively, Phoenix looks to continue rolling as it hosts the Seattle Storm on Tuesday night.

The Mercury also started 3-1 in 2007 and ’09 before Diana Taurasi helped guide them to championships. She scored 16 points in Friday’s 100-78 win over Tulsa, helping Phoenix bounce back from a 78-74 loss to San Antonio on May 23.

”We were sharp,” Taurasi said. ”We had a good four or five days of working on things that we left on the wayside against San Antonio. It took us a little bit, but we figured it out and we had some people come up big."

After scoring 17 points over her first three games, point guard Erin Phillips netted 15 on Friday while going 5 of 7 from the field.

"For the first few games, I probably was playing a bit too much like a point guard and trying to get other people involved, rather than looking for my shot," said Phillips, acquired in a trade with Indiana in the offseason. "It’s been a while since I actually played the point guard position before this year, but I felt I was more aggressive and tried to be attacking. It takes the pressure off the other players and it also gets them open as well."

It was a welcome performance for the Mercury, who lead the league in field-goal percentage (50.4) and 3-point shooting (45.8) while ranking second in points per game (82.2).

"That’s the way we really want to play," coach Sandy Brondello said. "I’m sure the next game will be a little closer."

Phoenix will be facing a Seattle team that is in the midst of playing 10 of its first 13 games on the road, the most ever to start a season. The Storm (2-5) took advantage of a rare home game Sunday and beat the Shock 62-60 behind a season-high 23 points from Crystal Langhorne.

The 6-foot-2 center was obtained in a trade with Washington before the season and is beginning to settle in with her new club, averaging 19.0 points in her last three after scoring 9.0 per game over her first four.

”I’m just trying to play and fit in and kind of let things come to me,” Langhorne said. ”It was a little rough just because we had some losses, but hopefully we continue to pick things up and get better as a team.”

Veteran Sue Bird added 11 points Sunday and said she’s starting to mesh with Langhorne, who is tied for first in the league in field-goal percentage at 67.2.

”We’re getting there, Crystal and myself,” Bird said. ”When you have a player like her, you just want to feed her. She’s playing great and hopefully we can continue to develop that chemistry.”

Despite Langhorne’s efforts, the Storm rank last in the league with 65.7 points per game as well as in field-goal percentage at 39.7. They shot 33.9 percent in an 81-64 loss to Phoenix on May 17.

Brittney Griner scored 19 points in that contest for the Mercury, who ended a five-game losing streak to Seattle.