Hitting the road can be a bonding experience for a team as they have to overcome adversity as well as live with each other, hotel after hotel. For the Mercury the road trip began at the defending Champs house and continues for a total of four games in seven nights.
On the season the Mercury have struggled (as has everyone) against the Minnesota Lynx. On the season they dropped the first two games by an average of 20 PPG meaning this was an uphill battle to begin with.
Early on the game was a back-and-forth affair as the teams were feeling each other out.
Heading into the final minute of the first half the Mercury actually took the lead on a Samantha Prahalis three as the team looked to go into the half with a lead on the best team in the WNBA. After that three went through the net the Mercury went on a drought that they could not recover from.
To end the half the Lynx poured in seven straight points to recapture the lead.
The third and fourth quarters were the death nail for the Mercury as their defense (not the offense) took a break for 10 minutes. This season it has been commonplace for the team to have a quarter where they struggle to score usually ending up with 8-12 points. Well, the offense was fine all game averaging 20 points per quarter, but the defense was what collapsed in the fourth quarter.
"We've just got to put four quarters together," said DeWanna Bonner after the game. "We haven't done that yet. Once we do that one time, I think we'll find a way to do that and continue to do that to get some wins."
Despite a scrappy effort from Prahalis (20 points 3 assists 4 rebounds) the Mercury (3-9) fell to the Lynx (13-1) by a final of 96-80.
The Lynx seemed locked into two goals for the game.
First, to lock down Bonner and prevent her from dominating the game. For the most part they accomplished that goal holding her to 6-18 shooting, but Bonner (23 points 7 rebounds) still got hers in by getting to the free-throw line (8-8) and making threes (3-7).
With Bonner struggling from the field more was put on the plate of Alexis Gray-Lawson (13 points) and Charde Houston (11 points) who delivered.
The second goal was to bust the Mercury out of the 2-3 Zone they have lived in because of the limited roster. The zone itself has been effective for the Mercury as they have had the edge on the glass in most games and are holding teams to low shooting numbers.
However the Lynx systematically picked apart the zone with their patience and depth of scorers.
This loss continues the Mercury's struggles against good teams as all three wins came against the Tulsa Shock (two) and the Washington Mystics. The road trip continues on to Chicago Friday night against the Sky at 5:30pm local time on Live Access.