Memorial Day weekend features a marquee matchup ripe for primetime television as Sunday afternoon the Phoenix Mercury and the Atlanta Dream will play before a nationally-televised audience on CBS.
The Dream, coming off of picking No. 1 in the draft, have gotten off to a good start at 4-3, which is seventh in the WNBA. Probably the biggest reason for this turnaround has been the No. 1 pick herself, Rhyne Howard, who is averaging 17.6 points per game.
The Mercury, coming off of an appearance in the WNBA Finals, have gotten off to a somewhat sluggish start at 2-5, which puts them outside of the playoff picture. Despite not having Brittney Griner, who is still detained in Russia, players such as WNBA legends Diana Taurasi and Tina Charles are keeping the team afloat.
Neither team is short on talent outside of the big stars, as the Dream have three other efficient scorers in Cheyenne Parker, Erica Wheeler and Aari McDonald. They also have effective role players in Nia Coffey, Monique Billings and Kristy Wallace.
For the Mercury, they have successfully ran back their core consisting of Skylar Diggins-Smith, Shey Peddy and Sophie Cunningham. They also have integrated in a successful new addition in Diamond DeShields.
Phoenix Mercury (2-5) vs. Atlanta Dream (4-3)
When: Sunday, May 29 at 12 p.m. ET
Where: The Gateway Center @ College Park in College Park, GA
How to watch: CBS
Key to the matchup: Tina Charles vs. Kia Vaughn. The Mercury are the league’s fourth-leading offense with 83.7 points per game, so this game will come down to the defense of both teams. Key to those defenses are these two women who are charged with guarding the paint. Charles, averaging 8.3 rebounds per game, is more than capable of being an effective rim protector. Vaughn is the Dream’s most important big and will play a big role in slowing down the Mercury’s big-time scorers.