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Mercury's Season Going From Bad To Worse With Loss To Dream

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The Mercury have now lost five games in a row and fall to 5-10 on the season with their 94-86 loss to the Atlanta Dream.

The loss ended a three game winless road trip and was played without the league's leading scorer, Diana Taurasi, who was sidelined with a bruised back suffered in a fall during the team's previous game in Washington.

This game was not available online due to self-defeating league rules which imposes a blackout on the streaming of all games when ESPN is broadcasting any contest.

Most notable from the box score is the lack of minutes coach Corey Gaines gave to his bench.

Without Taurasi, Bonner moved into the starting lineup and played well (17 points and nine rebounds) despite her own foot problems. Penny Taylor had a season high 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting but was forced to play the entire 40 minutes. Temeka Johnson logged a career high 12 assists but was 0-for-4 from 3-point range and 4-for-11 from the field in 35 minutes while her high-energy backup Ketia Swanier only saw the court for five minutes.

In fact, the Mercury bench combined for only eight points and 20 minutes compared to the Dream bench combo of Kelly Miller, Armintie Price, Yelena Leuchanka and Alison Bales that logged 102 total minutes and scored 47 points.

That lack of trust Gaines showed in his bench was likely a reason why the Mercury were held to 10 points in the final period and weren't able to hold a 14 point lead they built early in the game. Another frightening statistic for Mercury fans is the 14 offensive rebounds (27 second-chance points) the team gave up.

This team appears to be in a free-fall and Coach Gaines response was to ask his top six players to log huge minutes. And while both Gaines and GM Ann Meyers-Drysdale spoke in the off season about relying heavily on Nicole Ohlde this season, she only logged 9 minutes while Tangela Smith played 36 despite her continued inability to knock down three's (0-for-5) and her generally poor energy and post defense.

The Mercury don't have much time to regroup as they return to Phoenix for a game Thursday against the Washington Mystics and then Saturday against Cappie Pondexter and the NY Liberty.

Box Score