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Phoenix Mercury Late Game Execution Fail Vs. San Antonio

If you are a Mercury fan there's a definitely some positive signs from the third-straight Phoenix loss that marked a disappointing start to the 2011 WNBA season. The offense which failed to convert over 42 percent of their chances in the first two games was much better. 99 points and 47 percent shooting is certainly enough to win games if the late game execution and defensive rotations and awareness improve.

Kara Braxton is starting to find her touch again (although still missed a few easy looks) and Candice Dupree had her second double-double. The ball was moving better for much of the game the pace was up which is what Corey Gaines is looking for. 

Unfortunately, the problems on the defensive end continue. In the third quarter the Mercury gave up 37 points and 19 free throw attempts. While there were a few questionable calls -- there always are -- the majority of the fouls were a result of lack of poise or desperation hacks after getting beat from being out of position. 

The Mercury bench was out-played by the Silver Stars rookies Danielle Robinson and Danielle Adams and Jia Perkins has added a versatility and athleticism that San Antonio needed. Coach Dan Hughes has surrounded his two stars with better talent and has his team playing well on both ends of the floor which was the difference Friday night.

Crazy third quarter aside -- and really it was just the 13 San Antonio points in the final three minutes that hurt -- the Mercury had a two point lead with 3:39 to go in the game. That's a game you have to win, especially at home.

The score was 90-88 at that point and with the game on the line it was the Silver Stars that made fewer mistakes and played better defense and final result reflects that. Three turnovers in the final three minutes on the offensive end and a series of horrible defensive rotations against the high pick and roll doomed the Mercury.