Points were coming at an absolute premium early as the Phoenix Mercury hosted the Atlanta Dream, but came at a furious pace towards the end.
Throughout the first half the ebb-and-flow of the game was erroneous at best. Each team took turns turning the ball over, missing easy buckets in the paint, and launching carelessly long jumpers. To the Mercury's credit, they did play good overall team defense holding the Dream to 14 first quarter points and 17 second quarter points to hold a 34-33 lead at intermission.
It took some time - a full 20 minutes - but the home team finally woke up in the third quarter to the delight of the crowd.
The overall flow of the game never found any consistency though. When the Mercury began to get out and run they took an amazing 17-point lead in the third quarter and where a big play away from blowing the lid off the arena. Instead they gave it all back with back-to-back threes from Cathrine Kraayeveld (deep threes) to bring the Dream right back into it.
Each team had the scrappiness in them to not give up when knocked down, but neither team had the wherewithal to throw the much needed knockout punch.
In a span of 30 seconds in the fourth quarter (6:13-5:43) Samantha Prahalis and DeWanna Bonner were tagged with questionable technical fouls.
This is not an opinion, it is an observation - the officiating was horrible at best. Not the sheer numbers, but the calls that were being made, or for that matter not made. In the final box score the Mercury were 17/21 at the free-throw line losing the battle (17/23) by a small margin. Bonner ended the game going 8/11 from the free-throw line, but the officials left about another dozen freebies to the imagination as they swallowed their whistles.
"I think we were taking it in there," said Bonner after the game. "Probably weren't getting the calls, but that is neither here nor there."
Good thing about this game is that the officials didn't have the chance to throw the knockout punch on the Mercury. With an amazing performance from Alexis Hornbuckle (11 points 11 rebounds 4 assists) and Bonner (27 points 15 rebounds 6 steals) were able to force overtime.
"I just wanted to bring the energy," said Hornbuckle after the game. "We have been losing games and I am not digging it so I tied to dig deeper."
The final sequence that allowed for an extra five minutes of basketball is what Disney Movies are made for. Hornbuckle was whistled for a mysterious offensive foul, which revved her up on defense to cause turnovers on consecutive possessions. The first lead to two Krystal Thomas free-throws and the very next trip down court Hornbuckle forced another turnover, this time a steal by Prahalis leading to a game tying three by Bonner.
In overtime the pace stayed the same as each team matched punch for punch and headed into double-overtime. Not only was this the Mercury's first overtime game of the season it was obviously the first double as well.
The final five minutes belonged to the Dream. Missed opportunity after missed opportunity amounted to the Mercury (4-12) losing to the Dream (8-8) by the final of 100-93.
Mercury players made no excuses, but it was clear on their faces when talking about the officiating that the game was - to an extent - decided by the lack of calls.
"We shot 103 shots and shot 32%," said coach after the game. "I have seen that before, but usually we win those games."
It is a quick turnaround for the Mercury as they get on a plane to face the Seattle Storm in less than 24 hours. The Storm are another challenge, but also struggling this season in general with injuries as well. The game will be on Live Access at 6 p.m. local time.