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Kara Braxton Makes Home Debut Against Angry Lynx Cats

The Phoenix Mercury pulled out the best win of their disappointing season last week in Minnesota. They came back from a six-point deficit with 1:16 to go to win in a double-overtime thriller.

The Lynx, however, will likely not see the fun in that and want revenge tonight.

Coach Gaines understands, "My Dad's favorite line when I was young, he would say, 'sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield'."

He expects the 7-and-15 Lynx to be hungry but says his team is hungry too. Which reminds me, I'm hungry also. It's lunch time.

Braxton In - Ohlde Out

Tonight's game will be Kara Braxton's first appearance in a Lifelock uniform at home. Something that she admits is a bit weird after battling against the Mercury while in Detroit.

"I never thought in a million years I would be in Phoenix but it's better than the situation I was in in Tulsa so I'm just thankful," Braxton said.

And since she opened the door about the mess that is the Tulsa Shock this year, I asked the follow up question about why things were so bad there.

"How do I say this," Braxton said. "I don't want to say anything too bad. I just think it was a lack of knowing players and knowing how the WNBA works. I think after this year underneath his belt he'll do a lot better with recruiting and coaching."

But she also made it clear that Nolan Richardson has only himself to blame for creating an expansion-team type situation out of the Shock roster he inherited, "He traded away all his star players."

Clearly, the two-time champ is happy to be out of Tulsa and excited to be in Phoenix where she can immediately focus on one thing, "I see great potential with this team...I'm thinking about another ring."

Kara's role for the Mercury is pretty obvious considering her size and reputation in the league as a power-post player which is something the Mercury haven't had. Gaines looks for her to be able to get points in the paint and draw fouls when the game slows down but also thinks she can keep up with the up-tempo as well.

While Tulsa was a fast-paced team, Braxton says it's nothing like the running Phoenix does and she hopes to be in shape in time for the playoffs.

Coach Gaines expects to use her about 20 minutes per game but Braxton said her minutes are only limited by what she can physically bring.

She won't, however, try and pace herself and conserve energy to extend her floor time. Her approach is to give full effort while she's on the court and then if she needs a rest to trust her teammates to pick her up.

"Coming in next year, hopefully, I'll be in tip-top shape," Braxton said despite being on an expiring contract.

Coach Gaines echoed the notion that the Mercury didn't give up a first round draft pick just to "rent" Kara for the rest of the season.

"I don't think you can find someone like her in the draft," Gaines said and when asked about her contract for next season, "We'll get that done."


Other Notes:

  • Those of you who watch the Mercury ceremony at the White House witnessed an aggressive Corey Gaines go after the President and not let him leave without having a photo op. Gaines said he had no choice, "That's was my mom. My mom said I better get a picture so I had to come back with a picture. You've got to do what mom says."
  • As for breaking scoring records in Tulsa and then again in Minnesota, "Record, schmecord. It was a win."
  • Gaines wouldn't directly say why Ohlde didn't work in Phoenix but said she would always be part of the family and would be welcomed with open arms. I still don't quite understand why she wasn't given more of an opportunity to play here. Nicole is a talented player who should have been getting more than 8 or 9 minutes per game but for whatever reason, didn't earn them.