|Phoenix happy to be back home against Las Vegas|
The Phoenix Mercury ended their four-game road trip Sunday by salvaging at least one win against the last-place Indiana Fever, giving the Mercury renewed confidence heading into Thursday's home game against the Las Vegas Aces.
Despite the recent three-game losing skid -- losing at Atlanta, Dallas and Connecticut in a span of only six days -- Phoenix still has the second-best record in the WNBA at 15-8, trailing only the Seattle Storm, who are 17-6.
In hosting Las Vegas (10-13), Phoenix finally returns to the Talking Stick Resort Arena for four straight games. The Mercury have played eight of their last nine games on the road dating to June 24. They won half of those away games, including the 101-82 drubbing of Indiana (2-21) on Sunday.
"Obviously a very important game for us. We've been on the road forever it feels like. Now we have nine of 11 games at home, which is fantastic," said Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello.
Phoenix center Brittney Griner had a season-high 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting from the field against Indiana. She added 12 rebounds, making it her fifth double-double of the season and 32nd double-double of her career. Griner is currently third in the league in scoring, averaging 20.7 points per game.
On Wednesday, she was one of three Phoenix players named to the WNBA All-Star Game. The other two were guard Diana Taurasi and forward DeWanna Bonner. Taurasi will play in her ninth All-Star Game, which will be held July 28 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Griner will make her fifth trip and Bonner second.
Las Vegas, which shifted its operations from San Antonio this season, boasts rookie forward A'ja Wilson making her first All-Star Game appearance. Joining her from the Aces is guard Kayla McBride, who will make her second trip.
"It's always a cool experience," McBride said. " I was an all-star my second year and it's always a cool experience to represent your team and your family. It brings you back to all the work you've put in, and it is an honor to represent Las Vegas and our new team in the right way."
Las Vegas is coming off a 99-78 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on the road Sunday after the Aces led 67-66 early in the fourth quarter. The Sparks pulled away on a 21-3 run.
"I think today was an example of us not being there quite yet, mental toughness-wise," Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We really didn't play well for three quarters and then we laid an egg in the fourth quarter."
The Aces had won four straight before that loss.
Phoenix has won both previous meetings against Las Vegas this season, recording a 72-66 victory on June 10 and winning 92-80 seven days later.