The Phoenix Mercury started the season 0-3 and looked lost at times on both ends of the floor. The roster is as talented as any in the WNBA so there wasn't too much concern, but it was still disconcerting to see the team playing so far below their potential. Since that slow start, the Mercury are 4-1 thanks to a few technical adjustments and a change in mind set.
That turnaround started with Candice Dupree who won Player of the Week behind her streak of four double-double games which included a franchise-record 18 rebound performance in the team's first win of the season. Penny Taylor followed that up with her own Player of the Week award based on a string of fantastic all-around games where she twice almost recorded a triple-double.
The difference for both herself and the entire team was increased aggressiveness, Taylor explained.
"We weren't rebounding, we just weren't rebounding. I think I had one rebound in 36 minutes in one of those earlier games. That's pretty embarrassing for us because we're one of the biggest (pair) of guards in the league so we really should be getting on the boards. It wasn't because we were getting boxed out of anything. We just needed to go more aggressively."
Both Taylor and Diana Taurasi picked up their rebounding and played with more energy and desperation which gives confidence to the rest of the team.
"In general, both offensively and defensively being more aggressive was the key for us and now that we've done it, we know how to do it and we're getting to it a lot quicker in games," Taylor said.
The Phoenix Mercury (4-4) play the Chicago Sky (4-5) for the second time this season. Phoenix won the first meeting last week 86-78 in a difficult road back-to-back. The game tips at 7:00 p.m. at US Airways Center and can be seen online at WNBA.com.
Starting point guard Temeka Johnson is a game-time decision due to a lingering ankle injury.