When it has been good this season, it has been great. When it has been bad, it has been truly rough to watch. The team effort against the Connecticut Sun was one of those truly great moments.
Just like against San Antonio and Seattle last week, Connecticut came in looking for a win over the six win Mercury as they sit atop the Eastern Conference. Sitting in the polar opposite position in the Western Conference staring up at every other team in the conference are the Mercury.
Behind a furious start on offense and a great individual performance by DeWanna Bonner - more on that in a bit - the Mercury (7-20) cruised to a win over the Sun (20-8) on the road 91-82. That is three wins in four games against playoff bound teams.
With this win they are no longer in the cellar showing signs of life with a healthier roster, emphasis on healthier, since the Olympic break. This game was won in the paint and behind Bonner's touch from behind the arc.
The dominance on the glass was particularly eye-opening in the first half as the Mercury collected as many offensive rebounds as the Sun did rebounds as a team. For the game the rebounding margin was +24 for the road Mercury. Krystal Thomas - as per the norm lately - was all over the glass finishing with 16 rebounds for the game leading all players and a putting together a career-high. In fact Thomas out-rebounded the Sun on the offensive glass (seven-to-five) all by herself.
That excellence on the glass allowed more opportunities on offense for the team and for Bonner. It was one of those great nights for Bonner who had a career-high six three-point makes on her way to 35 points. After dropping two straight bombs from nearly thirty feet out Bonner gave the boost needed to fight off a last run by the Sun.
The WNBA's leading scorer on the season notched her third game of 30+ points this season putting a major stamp on scoring books. As a career Sixth Woman Bonner has surfaced as one of the most dynamic scorers in the league this year with two All-Stars on the shelf.
Over the past week the team has felt a little bit more like the 2011 Mercury again scoring, laughing, and winning games.
Despite losing Samantha Prahalis to a shoulder injury against New York, the team just functions better with Diana Taurasi (16 points) in the game. The team has a bounce in their step since they came back from the break as they have also welcomed back Charde Houston (9 points 4 rebounds) to the court early from injury.
At nearly full health the Mercury have more options on offense, which has been the issue during the 4-19 start to the season. During that period they shot a WNBA low from the field and from three. In the past three wins they have shot it considerably better from the field at 42.4% and from three 31.1% with more scorers on the court in the three wins.
It is much tougher to score points with line-ups that have Avery Warley and Krystal Thomas on the floor who are great rebounders, but very limited offensively.
Now with Taurasi and Houston back, Briana Gilbreath and Lynetta Kizer offering a boost, and more depth on the roster the team is winning games. It shouldn't be a shock to the fans and teams of the WNBA that the Mercury can beat anyone on the floor with Taurasi in the line-up, even if she is now playing sidekick for the first time in her career to the emerging DeWanna Bonner.
Up next for the Mercury is the final leg in the three stop road trip to face the Indiana Fever (17-9) on Sunday, September 9th at 3:00 p.m. local time. The first time these teams played the Fever took the win in Phoenix 85-72.