|Mercury still looking to get back on track vs. Lynx|
The Phoenix Mercury thought returning home for only the second time in the last 10 games could rejuvenate the team after losing three games on a four-game road trip.
The Mercury, however, are still searching for answers after their 85-82 loss to the Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The loss dropped Phoenix to 15-9, still the second-best record in the WNBA behind the Seattle Storm (18-6).
The Mercury next shift their focus to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, who are trying to battle back from a recent skid of their own after losing three of four games.
But the once-dominant Mercury, who won four straight games before their recent woes, are closer in the loss column to No. 8 (and final playoff spot) Connecticut (12-11) than they are to the Storm. Las Vegas is the No. 9 team with an 11-13 record.
"The biggest thing for us is that we're not ready to play," said Phoenix coach Sandy Bordello, whose team failed to beat the Las Vegas franchise, previously the San Antonio Stars, for the first time in 10 games. "We're not bringing the focus, the intent, or the energy to compete against anyone in the WBNA.
"We didn't bring our energy at the start of the game, and then we had to exert so much energy to get back into the game. We lost that game because of unforced turnovers leading to easy layups. No one is feeling sorry for us, and we need to make sure we are bringing it every single game."
The Aces' defense turned 16 Mercury turnovers into 25 points, 14 of which were in transition.
All-Stars Diana Taurasi (season-high 33 points with six assists and five rebounds) and Brittney Griner (sixth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds) played well, but the Mercury lacked balance and consistency against the Aces. Taurasi and Griner combined to make only 15 of 38 shots from the field.
Meanwhile, the Lynx (13-10) started to get on the right track in their last game Wednesday in an 89-65 rout of the visiting Indiana Fever.
Post player Sylvia Fowles posted her third 30-plus point game as a member of the Lynx with a season-high 30 points on 13-of-15 shooting. She also grabbed 16 boards, notching her league-best 14th double-double of the season and 141st of her career.
"That's the beauty of our team -- it's a good thing that we've got a lot of veterans where you can go back and watch film and have conversations with each other and just think about how we can help in different aspects," Fowles said of the win after the recent bad stretch.
"We know that our last game (an 83-64 loss at home to Connecticut last Sunday) wasn't our best, but we're pushing forward. I'm happy that we've got games that come quick, so we can get it over with."
This will be the third and last meeting of the teams this season. Phoenix and Minnesota split the previous two games, each winning on the road. The Lynx beat the Mercury 83-72 in the last meeting on June 22 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena.