Already playing without one of the league's best players, the injury-plagued Phoenix Mercury could find themselves in an even bigger hole with their second-leading scorer's status uncertain.
Former WNBA MVP and five-time scoring champion Diana Taurasi remains out indefinitely due to a hip flexor suffered during training camp. The Mercury (2-7) split the two games in which Taurasi appeared in but have struggled mightily without her, dropping six of seven - with those losses coming by an average of 17.2 points.
Those struggles may continue for Phoenix if Dupree, averaging 15.8 points, is forced to miss time. The three-time All-Star forward was removed from Sunday's 87-75 loss to previously winless Tulsa late in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. She finished with just four points.
After defeating the Shock twice earlier in the season, the Mercury were outscored 52-37 in the second half - including 31-19 in the fourth quarter.
"I think we just started playing faster at the wrong times, when we should have slowed it down," guard Charde Houston told the team's official website. " ... I think at the end of the day we have a lot of work to do as a team. We will stay together and we will iron things out."
Leading the team with 19.1 points per game, DeWanna Bonner scored 24 while Houston added 22. Phoenix might need similar efforts from them as it tries for a third consecutive victory over the Mystics (2-6).
Dupree led the Mercury in scoring during each of their two wins over Washington in 2011, compiling a combined 47 points.
Currently last in the Eastern Conference, the Mystics are coming off their 12th consecutive road loss dating to last season, falling 101-70 to Los Angeles on Monday. After averaging 23.6 points over her previous three games, Crystal Langhorne was limited to a season-low two on 1 of 5 shooting as Washington suffered its worst defeat of the year.
In addition to Langhorne's inability to get going, the Mystics committed 27 turnovers. Washington ranks second to last in the league with 19.7 turnovers per game - a trend it knows it must correct going forward.
"We know we have to take care of the ball, and we typically do that," said center Michelle Snow, who recorded team highs of 15 points and seven rebounds Monday. "We just have to bounce back and get back to being who we are and doing what we do best. You give people easy baskets like that - I mean, (31) points in transition. That's the game right there."
Phoenix hasn't lost four in a row since Aug. 8-14, 2010.
- Phoenix Mercury
- Candice Dupree
- Washington Mystics
- Diana Taurasi