The final leg in the tripod road trip visiting three of the Eastern Conference's best teams climaxed with a day game against the Indiana Fever. This game was eerily similar to the previous four games (two at home) for the Mercury facing a playoff contender.
Everything started off well as could hope for the team with a 9-0 run fueled by back-to-back threes by Diana Taurasi.
That lead evaporated shortly after as the Fever gained their stride closing out the first half by outscoring the Mercury 54-32 from that point on. Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas were the catalysts in the first half combining for 25 points.
In the second half the Fever had a counter for every run by the Mercury.
The third quarter lead was cut to 11 and momentum was starting form for Phoenix, but a four-point play by Briann January (Arizona State Alum) took the air out of that. Then in the fourth, after getting the game back in a manageable situation of 10 points, Catchings (19 points 5 rebounds) hit a jumper followed by a steal and a three by Erin Phillips.
For all the effort and fight the Phoenix Mercury (7-21) fell to 1-2 on their road trip losing to the Indiana Fever (19-9) by a count of 89-83, Douglas led the way with 30 points on an efficient 12-18 from the field.
"They're a great team," stated Bonner after the game. "They came out aggressive. We made a run in the second half. Coming off a long road trip, still feel like we played well."
This road trip provided good signs for the team overall. In those three games they lost in blowout fashion to New York and knocked off (in a route) the top seed in the East Connecticut before losing a tough one to Indiana. The offense seems to be back in a groove.
Despite the offense being back in old form to a reasonable extent, those death nail quarters are still affecting the team.
Tonight's second quarter is a prime example. After hanging 26 in the first quarter on the WNBA's second best per point defense they only netted 15 in the second quarter. The law of averages plagued them once again in this game.
At one point in the game a member of the Fever announce team commented on DeWanna Bonner (23 points 8 rebounds 5 assists) and her shooting numbers this season. "She doesn't look like a 29% three-point shooter," he said as Bonner nailed a deep three. Well, she makes nearly two shots from three a game and can get hot, but it is fire that burns both ways as she can go through stretches missing 4-5 in a row as well. For the season Bonner only has six games where she shot 50%, or better from three, but has gained a reputation as a fearless gunner from deep.
The bench chipped in with 14 points from Charde Houston and 11 out of Lynetta Kizer.
With Seattle clinching a playoff berth the remainder of the season is now for the coaching staff to evaluate the roster for next year and avoid any more major injuries. There are only six games remaining on the schedule, five of which are at home giving the team something to play for as they close out this tough, down season.
Up next for the Mercury is a visit from those same Connecticut Sun (21-8) that they beat handily on this road trip. The game tips off at 7:30 p.m. local time.