Mercury continue season-long road trip in Indiana
The Phoenix Mercury are back on track after a two-game losing streak and will try to carry that momentum with them as they head into Friday’s battle against the Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.
The Mercury (11-5) are in the midst of a season-long four-game road trip and a stretch of eight games away from home in a nine-game span. Phoenix ended its mini-skid on Tuesday with an 83-69 victory at New York that gave them nine wins in their past 11 outings.
Diana Taurasi scored 27 points in the win over the Liberty, making her first seven 3-point attempts, while DeWanna Bonner hit for 18 points and Sancho Lyttle and Brittney Griner scored 12 apiece for the Mercury.
Phoenix made 14 of 23 3-pointers in the game with Taurasi finishing 7 of 11 from beyond the arc.
“We had to get back to the things we do well, which is communication, and a lot of focus and intent — when we play like that we are tough,” Taurasi said. “We know what we have to do, and we understand the keys to us playing well. We are a veteran team.”
Friday’s game is the season’s first meeting between the Fever and the Mercury. Indiana owns a 21-14 edge in the overall series between the two teams and an 11-7 advantage in games played in Indianapolis. The Fever have won five of the past eight meetings overall while Phoenix won two of the three contests last season.
Indiana heads home after losing its fourth straight game — and its 14th in 15 outings — in a 101-89 setback at Connecticut on Tuesday. The Sun beat the Fever for the second time in three nights and completed a three-game sweep of Indiana in 2018.
“We’re not going to outscore a lot of people,” Fever coach Pokey Chatman said after the loss. “But we need to have a little more pride in our effort, and we need to start with more intensity. We have to focus, and we have to fight. It’s OK when you fight to come back, but we have to fight for 40 (minutes).”
Indiana’s rookie duo of Victoria Vivians and Kelsey Mitchell provided 40 of the Fever’s 89 points. Vivians poured in career highs of 25 points and five 3-pointers, and Mitchell added 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Candice Dupree pitched in 14 points for Indiana.
Vivians and Mitchell combined for eight 3-pointers, matching the most by any rookie duo in the WNBA since 2009, and equaling their own feat of June 16 versus Atlanta.
Dupree has reached double-figure scoring in 10 of the 13 games she’s played this year, returning last week after a two-game bout nursing a sore left knee.
This will be the first time since they were married in fall 2016 that former teammates Dupree and Bonner square off against each other on opposing teams. It will also be the first time Bonner and her half-sister Erica McCall will take the floor together as professionals on opposing teams.