It's not a surprise the Phoenix Mercury lost the Game 1 of their first round playoff series to the Seattle Storm. The Storm have now won 11 out of 12 games against the Mercury in the last two years and were the healthier and better team.
It was disappointing however, to see the Mercury get out-worked and out-played so thoroughly. They consistently were slow on defense and got killed on the boards as they watched too many balls fall into their opponent's hands without even trying to contest the outcome.
The veteran Mercury team were frustrated and played without poise which translated to an embarrassing butt-kicking at the hands of a very good Seattle team.
The two teams traded punches in the first quarter and were tied at 19 after one. From there the Storm clamped down on the defense and held the Mercury to season-low 61 points which is 28 less than their season average.
The Mercury were without starting center Nakia Sanford who reportedly was experiencing knee soreness. The loss of Sanford forced DeWanna Bonner into the starting line up and Candice Dupree had to play out of position at the five. This created too many mismatches for the unenergetic Mercury defense to handle.
The Storm were led by 21 points from Tanisha Wright while Sue Bird chipped in eight and Lauren Jackson was able to rest. She only played 19 minutes but 13 points. Swin Cash and Camille Little each had 11 rebounds as Seattle beat Phoenix 49-35 on the glass.
Phoenix got 13 points from Penny Taylor and 11 points from Diana Taurasi to lead a Mercury team that never played like they thought they could win.
"We couldn't get her open shots," said Mercury coach Corey Gaines about Taurasi's performance. "She's coming off of picks, and we couldn't get our run game going. They switched, swung the ball around, and the people who were open couldn't hit the shots."
Game 2 of the best of three series is Saturday in Phoenix at 7:00 p.m.