The Phoenix Mercury are 10 1/2 games out of 1st place in the Western Conference and only 4 1/2 games out of last place and 1/2 game ahead of third place Minnesota. With the only 14 games left in the regular season, the goal is clear: secure second seed and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Every game matters now and just because the Mercury have already beat the Tulsa Shock four times this season doesn't make tonight's match-up a forgone conclusion. Fortunately, the Mercury are well-rested since their last game five days ago against this same team.
Rest and nagging injuries have hurt the Mercury this season, given the lack of depth beyond the top six players in the rotation. This was the last big scheduled break of the season. From here on in it's 14 games in 27 days with no more than two days off in a row and 9 of 14 on the road. That makes this a must win game - it only gets harder from here.
Tulsa lacks star power, a consistent scoring option, an effective facilitator and a defensive scheme that's effective against the large number of high-quality ball handlers the Mercury employ. But they play hard and are looking like they are finally buying into what Nolan Richardson is preaching.
Visit the game thread at Swish Appeal.
The game starts at 5:00 p.m. AZT, but won't be on WNBA Live Access due to ESPN blackout restrictions, which prevent any WNBA to be streamed while another game is being broadcast on the Worldwide Leader in Sports Rights Restrictions.
The game might be streamed on ESPN 3.