The Phoenix Mercury snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 75-68 victory against the Seattle Storm on Thursday, August 30. With Diana Taurasi back on the floor, the Mercury were fired up and set the pace early in the game. They started the game with back-to-back threes that gave an early 6-0 lead. The Storm were able to remain in striking distance until the Mercury took control in the fourth quarter. They led the game by as much as 11 points. Although the Storm pulled within five points, they just could not hit their shots in the last two minutes.
Despite missing four key players from their lineup, the Mercury were able to maintain their energy and fend off the able-bodied Storm. Dewanna Bonner contributed 24 points and 11 rebounds. Samantha Prehalis had 16 points and Taurasi added 13 points for the Mercury.
Taurasi missed much of the Mercury's season due to a hip flexor injury. Her presence provided a much-needed boost to the Mercury, who have dropped to last place in the Western Conference standings. With Taurasi back in the game, the Mercury have a much stronger team and, as they demonstrated in Thursday's game, cannot be overlooked as contenders despite their 5-19 record.
With 11 points, Camille Little was the Storm's high scorer. Tanisha Wright and Tina Thompson added 10 points apiece. They shot just over 34 percent from the field.
Though the Storm are holding on to the fourth slot in the conference, they have not yet clinched a spot in the playoffs. Now that the Storm have Jackson, Thompson and Ann Wauters back in the lineup, they must not be overconfident. They have the potential to be unstoppable once they find their rhythm. Jackson has been with the Storm for just a few games and is still adjusting to her teammates. She is a competitor and I am confident that she will get in her groove and help lead her team to the playoffs. She will have a week to practice with her team before facing the Tulsa Shock in Seattle on September 6.
Anne Bucher has been a devoted follower of the WNBA since its inception in 1997. A Texas native, she cheered the Houston Comets on to their four consecutive championship titles. Now she lives in the Northwest and roots for the Seattle Storm.