Dream-Mercury Preview

While the short-handed Phoenix Mercury are mired in their roughest stretch of the season, that situation is still not as bad as what the Atlanta Dream are going through.

The Mercury can avoid a season-high fourth straight loss by extending the visiting Dream's season-high losing streak to 11 games Friday night.

Trying to remain in playoff position, Phoenix (11-13) lost for the fifth time in six games Wednesday night, 78-71 to Connecticut at home. DeWanna Bonner scored 17 for the Mercury, who played the first of star Brittney Griner's three-game suspension for fighting in last week's meeting with Dallas.

Griner's absence, and her recent comments regarding her future in the WNBA, have added to the overall frustration level for Phoenix this season.

"I'm playing here right now. Definitely not playing for the "W," Griner, who was unhappy that the lengths of the suspensions for the players involved from both teams were not uniform, told ESPN earlier this week.

Adding to that, fellow star Diana Taurasi has played just one game this season. Meanwhile, Essence Carson (calf), Sancho Lyttle (knee) and Alanna Smith (ankle) are also dealing with injuries for the Mercury, who have lost the last three games by a combined 20 points.

Things in Phoenix are still not as bad, at least not on the court, as with Atlanta (5-20). The Dream dropped their 10th in a row Tuesday, 94-90 at Las Vegas. Jessica Breland had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Marie Gulich scored 15 with 12 rebounds for Atlanta, which led by five after three quarters but was outscored 24-15 in the final period.

The Dream last lost 11 in a row while starting 0-17 in 2008.

Leading scorer Tiffany Hayes had 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting against Vegas. It came one game after she posted 34 at Indiana. Hayes also had 10 points while teammate Brittney Sykes scored 29 and pulled down 10 boards in a 65-63 loss at Phoenix on July 7.