Inconsistent Mercury host Mystics (Jul 4, 2017)
The Phoenix Mercury have alternated losses and wins for the past seven games and are due for a victory when they host the Washington Mystics on Wednesday night.
Getting that win won't be easy against Washington, which is third in the WNBA with a 10-6 record, 1 1/2 games ahead of the fourth-place Mercury (7-6). Phoenix leads a thick pack of teams in the middle of the league standings, with seven clubs separated by only one game.
"I think we're right there," Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. "I like the group we have. You can lose any game in this league. We're looking no further than Washington. They're one of the best teams, too. It's a good challenge for us. We know we're right there."
Phoenix is coming off a 91-83 home loss to WNBA-leading Minnesota, while Washington squandered a 17-point halftime lead in a 76-69 loss at the second-place Los Angeles Sparks in its most recent game.
That was the first game back for Washington 6-foot-4 forward Emma Meesseman, who missed 11 games while playing for Belgium at the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket Championships. She came off the bench Sunday, scoring six points and grabbing four rebounds in 19 minutes.
Meesseman averaged 15.2 points last season.
"The best part of this is we can get a lot better," Mystics coach Mike Thibault told the Washington Post before Meeseeman's return. "We've got a lot of upside, and that feels good."
The Mystics are led by forward Elena Delle Donne, who is averaging 19.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. Guard Tayler Hill is averaging 14.8 points but has made only 2 of 20 shots in the past two games.
Phoenix center Brittney Griner leads the WNBA in scoring at 21.8 points per game. She is coming off a season-low six points in a foul-plagued effort against Minnesota. Guard Diana Taurasi, the WNBA's career leader in points and 3-point field goals, is sixth in the league at 18.6 points per game.
The Mercury will be playing their second game with 6-6 post Angel Robinson (signed after the EuroBasket Championships) and wing Monique Currie, acquired in a trade with the San Antonio Stars.
Robinson had eight rebounds in 13 minutes against the Lynx; Currie scored four points in 15 minutes.
"Excited about the team we have now," Brondello said. "We've added some help. With rebounding, it gives us a bit more length. And Mo is another playmaker/shooter. We can go to the bench and we know they will maintain that high level. We see glimpses of a very good team."
Washington is 3-4 on the road; Phoenix is 3-4 at home.