The Phoenix Mercury got good news regarding star veteran Diana Taurasi, but it is unknown if she will be available for Monday night's matchup with the Dallas Wings.
Taurasi left during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 74-68 loss to the Seattle Storm, favoring her side after attempting to drive to the basket. The 38-year-old underwent an MRI on her lower back and oblique area, but the team announced there was no structural damage and "that this injury is not related to Taurasi's 2019 back surgery."
The three-time champion and WNBA's all-time leading scorer - who was limited to six games last year because of that surgery - had gotten off to a strong start this season, averaging 16.9 points and 5.9 assists in the first seven games for Phoenix (4-3). She had 14 points and five assists in Saturday's defeat.
"She's got to get imaging, and let's just pray it's not too bad and she'll be back on court again in a few days," Mercury coach Sandy Brondello told Azcentral.com prior to the MRI being taken. "They're not saying it's her back."
Brondello is hoping leading scorer Bria Hartley will be available after missing the last two games with a strained Achilles. Hartley is averaging 18.2 points and shooting 41.9 percent from 3-point range. If both Hartley and Taurasi are unavailable, the Mercury will undoubtedly lean heavily on center Britney Griner for offense.
Griner had a team-high 20 points in Saturday's loss and is averaging 17.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.
The Wings (3-4) snapped a three-game losing streak with an 85-75 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday. Arike Ogunbowale had 24 points and six assists for Dallas while Kayla Thornton had a solid two-way game, adding 17 while hounding highly regarded rookie Chennedy Carter into a 5-for-14 shooting performance.
"(The win) started with defense, and honestly it started with Kayla Thornton because she's our best defensive stopper," Ogunbowale told the Dallas Morning News. "She had it locked in, and everybody else was locked in, and then the offense just came."
It was the 282nd win for coach Brian Agler, moving him ahead of Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes - who opted out of this season as an increased-risk COVID-19 candidate - and behind only Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault.
Ogunbowale, who is second in the league with 20.1 points per game, has scored at least 15 in 18 consecutive contests. She reached that figure just once as a rookie last year when Dallas split its four contests with Phoenix, scoring 23 in the most recent matchup - a 70-66 victory.
Ogunbowale shot just 27.7 percent in those games and went 1 for 18 from 3-point range. Griner, who was ejected in that August 2019 defeat along with four other players in a fourth-quarter brawl, averaged 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in the season series.