Picture yourself moving from one place to another. You start filling boxes with the important stuff you will be bringing along, ready to leave some of the "other" stuff behind. Clothes. Gadgets. Box after box after box. Ready to leave. Ready to start a new chapter.
Just when you thought it is okay to leave a ton of the old stuff behind, you soon realize there are lots of useful stuff from the storage room. You go back. You look for stuff you will carry along. Boom. Lots of them. More boxes to fill.
The Phoenix Mercury entered the season without their main star, Diana Taurasi. That's already a big blow to the team's campaign this year. Then Penny Taylor (season) and Brittney Griner (7-game suspension) were both unavailable for the Mercury's home opener.
But Sandy Brondello's troops still came prepared and played seamlessly, following the head coach's system like a seasoned group. It turned out, the team -- which we all know are going the work with what they have -- have a lot of tools and some hidden gems.
As expected, DeWanna Bonner became Phoenix's main facilitator. Her explosive quick step and ability to read makes her a dangerous pick and roll ball handler, and Brondello went to that play with Candice Dupree as the roll person several times in the opening quarter.
In one play, Bonner used her quickness to get to the rim and finish with an and-one play. Another saw Dupree floating to the baseline area instead of rolling to the hoop after the dribble hand-off, and once Bonner have attracted the defense after receiving the ball and attacking, she dished out a pass to Dupree, who has the knack to drain mid-range jumpers.
Bonner finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists and also had 8 free throw attempts. When it wasn't her facilitating, there's Monique Currie, a 9-year WNBA veteran acquired during the offseason.
Currie showed the same relentlessness in getting to the rim off straight line drives and from there either created scoring opportunities or drew contact.
Currie was a team-high plus-11 in 25 minutes, and also contributed 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Dupree had 14 points and 9 boards in 38 minutes.
Off the bench, more tools provided the spark. There's rookie Alex Harden, the 18th overall pick of this year's draft, who logged 15 minutes and also showed aggressiveness. In one play she made curl cut off a Dupree pin down and received an entry pass where she scored her first two points as a pro.
Cayla Francis also helped out when it comes to interior defense. The Stars managed to score more points in the paint particularly in the third quarter, which is fine considering Griner, Phoenix's elite rim protector, wasn't around.
But the Mercury proved that even without its main weapons, they have a deep roster that is ready to compete until the end. With the promise that it showed right in its first game, this squad is ready to go a long way.