The "Good job, Good effort," kid would be proud of the Phoenix Mercury for the most part in this losing affair. They came out (again) with only three players dressed to face yet another playoff contending team.
Traditionally the Chicago Sky have been a welcomed opponent as the team is 12-1 all-time against them, but this has been the least traditional year in the team's history.
With the usual suspects on the bench in street clothes -- Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree they were joined by Samantha Prahalis, Diana Taurasi, and DeWanna Bonner. Again, 78.1 PPG on the bench wearing pant suits or jeans rather than sneakers and a jersey.
Against a shorthanded rotation of only seven total players the Sky (13-18) got their second ever win against the Mercury (7-24) by a final of 86-55.
Won the third quarter, first two we couldn't score," said Coach Gaines after the tough loss. "We didn't have any pop, everything was just short."
For the most part the game was over in the second quarter after a series of team turnovers led to a 27 point deficit. That was the story of the game, turnovers and the easy points the Sky were able to get off of those turnovers. Overall the team finished with 18 turnovers leading to 27 points. There was a sequence where the team turned the ball over multiple times leading to a couple of dagger threes to build that lead.
Combine those turnovers with a short rotation against a tough playoff caliber team and you have the recipe for a 31 point blowout loss.
The effort was there as Briana Gilbreath (8 points 7 rebounds) and Krystal Thomas (6 points 13 rebounds) really played hard every play even though it doesn't show up in the boxscore. As a team that is out of the playoffs officially and getting closer to putting a final chapter to this tough season it is a testament to the players' professionalism and character that they still play with effort.
"It doesn't matter whenever you put on your uniform whether you are making the playoffs or not you have a job to do," said Charde Houston after the game. "As professionals I am just so proud of us and how we have handled everything, with the injuries, but it is nice to know for the fans that we are not the type of team that just gives up."
There were some parts of the game where looks of disgust or lack of energy to stop another fast-break were evident. That happens to teams that are winning. This game was the team's second in three nights with only seven players as mentioned above explaining the low shooting percentages and tired legs tonight.
It does not get easier for the Mercury as their run of facing 14 playoff teams in their final 15 games continues with a trip to visit the Los Angeles Sparks (22-10) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. local time on WNBA Live Access. On the season the Mercury are 0-4 against the Shock losing by a margin of 13.75 points each game.