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Preview: Mercury host Wings on Saturday night, look to rebound from loss

The Phoenix Mercury return home following a road loss to face the Dallas Wings, who seek a season series split. Earlier in the day, the struggling Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream try to salvage a win.

Dallas Wings v Phoenix Mercury
Britney Griner (right) will have to be the main focus for the Wings’ defense if they want to earn a season split with the Mercury.
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

In the final meeting between the teams this season, the Dallas Wings head to Phoenix to face the Mercury in a Saturday-night matchup.

With nearly two-thirds of the season played, the eight teams with the strongest case to make the playoffs have identified themselves, with one slight exception. The currently eighth-seeded Mercury have a three-game lead on the New York Liberty, who have lost their last four games.

For the Mercury, it has been an extremely tough year. On top of playing without their best player, Diana Taurasi, who has been recovering from back surgery, injuries have plagued the rest of the team. Phoenix had to sign two players this week, Arica Carter and Asia Taylor, just to bring the roster to nine healthy players. The fact that they are in playoff contention at this late stage is testament to the talent on this roster.

The Mercury’s opponent tonight, the Wings, may well have the Rookie of the Year in Arike Ogunbowale. But when a rookie is also your best player, consistency is going to be an issue. The Wings are 0-11 on the road, but have been a tough out at home. However, the Wings have played the Mercury well this season. In terms of scoring differential, Dallas is plus-six over the course of three games. The Wings beat the Mercury convincingly in their first meeting in Dallas, 69-54. Phoenix won the next two games, but only by a combined nine points.

Today’s afternoon game is between the Indiana Fever and the Atlanta Dream. The Fever, while improved from last season, still have not found the keys to winning basketball. At 8-16, the Fever are four games out of eighth place, but have shown no signs of being able capable of making a late playoff push. Meanwhile, the Dream sit in last place due to the loss of Angel McCoughtry and simply being unable to recreate the defensive intensity from last season that hid the flaws of their offense.

Game information

Indiana Fever (8-16) vs. Atlanta Dream (5-18)

When: Saturday, August 10, at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

How to watch: CBS Sports Network

Keys to the matchup: The guard play for both teams will fun to watch. Erica Wheeler and Kelsey Mitchell get the Fever going on offense, while Brittany Sykes and Tiffany Hayes are the spark plugs for the Dream. Mitchell has been very assertive recently and was the leading scorer in Indiana’s last two games. The Fever beat the Dream the last time they played in Indiana, 61-59.

Phoenix Mercury (11-11) vs. Dallas Wings (6-17)

When: Saturday, August 10, at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ

How to watch: WNBA League Pass

Keys to the matchup: Britney Griner has scored 53 points in the Mercury’s last two games. Griner will be a force to reckon with for Dallas. Another player to watch is DeWanna Bonner, but for a different reason. Bonner has been cold from beyond the arc, shooting just 2-of-21 in Phoenix’s last four games.