Phoenix, AZ — Looking for a season sweep of the San Antonio Stars, the Mercury came into Sunday’s game hungry for another win. Phoenix was coming off a much-needed win against the Chicago Sky, after suffering a four game losing streak. With the void of Brittney Griner, the Mercury have been desperately searching to find the momentum they were so familiar with earlier this season.
In the absence of Griner, new stars have emerged and Sunday that star was Monique Currie. Currie led the Mercury with 20 points, to help the Mercury capture the win against her former teammates.
Currie came out strong in the first quarter contributing six points. Playing against her previous teammates, she anticipated their moves on defense while also putting forth an impressive offensive performance.
“It was fun out there, got a lot of open looks. I was able to knock them down which helped me to get into a good rhythm, and have the confidence,” said Currie.
Currie was not the only one making noise on the court. Danielle Robinson demonstrated her ability to be dynamic. Using her speed to her advantage, she added four points and grabbed three rebounds. In just her first season with the Mercury, Robinson is making an enormous impact on the court.
In the second quarter, the Mercury’s lead began to dissolve. Both teams played a rather sloppy period, plagued by turnovers and fouls. The Stars slowly chopped away at the separation in the score, getting within two points of Phoenix. However, with increased ball movement, shots opened for the Mercury allowing them to recover and remain in the lead.
As the final minute in the second ticked away, Currie sank a three-point jump shot. Seconds later Robinson quickly stole the ball from Kelsey Plum’s hands and took it straight to the hoop. With their aggressive defense and ability to capitalize on open shots, Phoenix regained control of the pace ending the half with a 42-35 lead.
Although this game seemed to be led by players who aren’t always in the spotlight, that’s not to say Diana Taurasi didn’t shine. Taurasi hit a beautiful three in the third frame and got sent to the line to add another two points to the Mercury’s lead.
Camille Little, who’s trying to fill Griner’s void in a physical sense, has shown leadership on the court, and tonight she had a spectacular performance.
“You can’t replace what Brittney does, that’s just what kind of player she is,” Taurasi stated. “But I think out of everyone, Camille has taken more of a load and more of a responsibility, more in the leadership, and physicalness. She’s been great, I think Camille’s just been really, really solid for us.”
Taurasi and Currie both dropped another three in the fourth quarter, and the deal was sealed. The Stars struggled throughout the entire game to put forth a cohesive effort as a team, and the Mercury seemed to do the exact opposite with so many different players stepping up.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well today, with Phoenix finishing at 40.6% from the field and the Stars at 33.8%. San Antonio has yet to win when shooting below 40%, and tonight that pattern continued. For the Mercury, they needed the “W” today and were able to attain it.
“It was a game that was important for us to win, we needed to win. I’m just glad that we were able to come up,” said Currie.
Sunday night Phoenix did not let the absence of Griner overtake their ability to win. Standout performances from other players on the team allowed the Mercury to spark momentum, and head towards a winning streak.
The Phoenix Mercury improved their record to 13-10 while the San Antonio Stars fall to 3-21 on the season.