Mercury look to keep rolling vs. struggling Sky

The Phoenix Mercury will go for their ninth win in the past 10 games when they visit the Chicago Sky on Sunday evening at Wintrust Arena near downtown Chicago.

Phoenix (10-4) has surged into a tie with the Los Angeles Sparks atop the WNBA standings thanks to its recent hot streak. The Mercury won eight straight games before falling 83-72 on Friday to the Minnesota Lynx.

Two days later, the Mercury have a chance to put that loss behind them.

The star-powered duo of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner make Phoenix a tough challenge for any opposing defense. Taurasi is the leading scorer in WNBA history and a lethal shooter from distance. Griner is a powerful force in the paint who is listed at 6 feet 8 and 205 pounds.

“(Brittney) has really made it easy to get better looks,” Taurasi said in comments published on ArizonaSports.com. “When she gets it going, teams really have to pick their poison, and the offense we run really suits that.”

Taurasi is averaging 20.4 points per game this year and Griner is just behind at 20.2. DeWanna Bonner also is averaging in double digits at 15.1.

Griner said she enjoys working the baseline with a drop step or hook shot depending on the play.

“When I first got into the league, I really liked Tim Duncan’s game,” Griner said to ArizonaSports.com. “The backboard, the glass, just keeping it really effective and fundamental. You don’t need a thousand different moves. I’ve tried to get really good at three moves and build counters off of those.”

Chicago (3-9) is hoping to move in the right direction but is coming off a 93-77 home loss to the Washington Mystics on Friday. The Sky are mired in a season-worst six game losing streak, with all but one of those defeats coming by double digits.

Allie Quigley leads the Sky at 15.4 points per game. Rookie Diamond DeShields is next at 12.0 and Cheyenne Parker is third at 11.3.

Sky coach Amber Stocks has been impressed with DeShields’ talent and willingness to work.

“She’s a smart player who is a sponge,” Stocks said to Bleacher Report. “She wants to absorb every piece of knowledge from her teammates, coaches and film.”

As for what DeShields could do to improve? Stocks put it simply.

“More consistency and shooting over 40 percent at the 3-point line,” she said.

Phoenix is 6-1 on the road this season. Chicago is 2-4 at home.