Mercury look to bounce back from ‘trash game’ in matinee

STATS Writer

About the only positive the Phoenix Mercury are drawing from their latest performance is that duplicating such a poor effort would be quite difficult.

The tough hits keep on coming for the struggling San Antonio Silver Stars, though.

Phoenix looks to bounce back from its worst loss of the year Wednesday when it hosts San Antonio, which recently learned veteran Becky Hammon will miss the rest of the season. The matinee game gets started at 12:30 p.m. at US Airways Center and can be seen live on FOX Sports Arizona.

Diana Taurasi was averaging a league-best 23.0 points and Phoenix had scored an average of 91.4 over its five-game winning streak before being routed by Minnesota 91-59 on Sunday.

The Mercury (8-5) were held 10 points below their previous season low and committed a season-worst 21 turnovers. Taurasi finished with four points and hit 2 of 6 from the field.

Phoenix attempted only five three throws – none by Taurasi – compared to Minnesota’s 35.

“That’s just me not being aggressive,” said Taurasi, who still leads the WNBA at 21.5 points per game. “I have to do a better job of being aggressive and finding better spots to get more shots up.”

Candice Dupree had a team-best 12 points and Brittney Griner finished with a season-high 11 rebounds but had a season-low eight points.

Coach Corey Gaines said he won’t dwell on the poor performance.

“Just had a bad game,” Gaines said. “We hadn’t had one in a long time. A trash game. That’s it. We have been getting better as the season goes on.”

The Silver Stars (3-8) can’t say the same, having lost three straight and seven of eight. They were routed 93-66 at Los Angeles on Saturday and lost Hammon to a torn left ACL in the second quarter.

The seven-time All-Star was playing in her first game after missing the first 10 with a broken finger. Hammon’s loss marks another in a long list of injuries for San Antonio, which also has been without Sophia Young due to a torn ACL.

DeLisha Milton-Jones (leg), Shenise Johnson (knee) and Jayne Appel (concussion) were able to return for the last contest, though.

“We’ve been given some blows this year thus far that kind of seem unfair,” said Milton-Jones, who scored 20 points Saturday. “For one team to have this many adverse situations thrown at us when it comes to dealing with injuries. Becky is definitely a key part of everything that we have here and we were anxiously awaiting her return.”

San Antonio gave Phoenix a tough challenge in the first meeting, but Griner finished with 26 points, seven boards and five blocks in the Mercury’s 83-77 win June 25.

Danielle Robinson, the WNBA leader in assists at 6.6 per game, handed out 10 for the Silver Stars and shared the team lead of 15 points with Danielle Adams and Shameka Christon.