Dream-Mercury Preview

The Phoenix Mercury have bounced back from their first loss in six weeks and now turn their attention to setting the single-season franchise record for victories.

The Atlanta Dream stand in their way, though the Eastern Conference leaders could be without their head coach.

With Michael Cooper’s status uncertain for the Dream, the Mercury seek a team-record 24th win and 13th in a row at home Tuesday night in a possible WNBA finals preview.

After having a team-record 16-game win streak snapped in Thursday’s 75-67 loss at Minnesota, Phoenix (23-4) recovered Saturday with 14 straight fourth-quarter points en route to a 79-69 home win over Indiana.

Brittney Griner had 17 points as Phoenix tied the single-season franchise mark for wins, set in its 2007 championship season, and broke a team record with its 12th straight victory at US Airways Center to top an 11-game run in 1999.

"What I like is that they responded," coach Sandy Brondello said. "We know that wasn’t our best game, we played lackluster for such a long time. But we could change it."

Diana Taurasi, the WNBA’s sixth leading scorer at 17.4 per game, had 15 points after being held to 10 on Thursday and shot 9 for 30 in those contests. However, she finished with a combined 53 points while making 17 of 32 shots to help Phoenix take both games from Atlanta in 2013.

This is the teams’ first meeting this year. Griner totaled just 22 points in last season’s series as a rookie but has averaged 17.6 points on 65.1 percent shooting in her last seven games.

Phoenix averages a league-high 84.9 points while limiting opponents to a WNBA-low 74.3 after holding the Fever to 34.8 percent shooting – including 4 of 17 from 3-point range – on Saturday.

Now the Mercury could have their hands full with Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, who ranks third in the league at 20.0 points per game. The All-Star totaled 58 points in the two matchups with the Mercury in 2013.

McCoughtry finished with 28 points in Sunday’s 83-76 home loss to New York that snapped a two-game win streak.

Cooper returned to the bench after he had missed five games due to treatment for early stage tongue cancer, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to join the team on its season-high four-game road trip.

The Dream (17-10) lead Washington and Indiana by 4 1-2 games for the East’s best record. Although they’ve won the East title in 2010, 2011 and 2013, they’ve never secured the top seed.

"In the six years that I have been here, every time it’s the second half (of the season) where we play this way until the playoffs," said Sancho Lyttle, who added 16 points Sunday.