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Mercury Narrowly Escape With An 80-77 Win Over The Mystics

It was a nightmare scenario for the Mercury as they went into the game against the Washington Mystics. Playing at home minus Candice Dupree and Nakia Sanford, oh and Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor to add insult to injury. No pun intended.

The loss of 19.1 points and 9.4 rebounds from their normal starting frontcourt was not felt initially as the team got off to a hot start.

Samantha Prahalis' was electric early with six points in the first as the Mercury put up a season high for the first quarter with 26 points, but a tie after one.

The fourth quarter was a thriller, but initially it was the foul show. In the first six minutes of the quarter the Mercury amassed six total fouls including Alexis Grey-Lawson's face fouling the elbow of a Mystics player. That run in questionable whistles swung the game giving the Mercury their largest deficit of the game midway through the fourth quarter.

It was a deficit short lived as the Mercury came back firing on all cylinders. "It was fun, it felt like the old Mercury from when we won our Championship and last year when got great wins," was how DeWanna Bonner described the final two minutes of the game.

It got jump started by Sammy when she squeaked out for a second after an offensive rebound by Avery Warley and nailed a three. Once that ball went through the net the team and crowd simultaneously went on an emotional high.

Prahalis (15 points 7 rebounds) and Bonner (19 points 7 rebounds) scored the final eight points and the Mercury (3-7) closed out the 80-77 win over the game Mystics (2-7).

In that final sequence Mystics Head Coach told Jasmine Thomas to "crowd her (Prahalis)" and it burned her in the end as Sammy noticed the defensive pressure and burst past her for the tough layup. Prahalis on that play after the game, "She was on me and I just thought get to the basket."

Bonner played every minute of the game and according to Coach Gaines, "still hasn't broken a sweet."

One impressive element of this game - playing with essentially an eight man rotation - was the effort on defense. The team forced four shot-clock violations in the game with a consistently good on that end of the floor.

The obvious X-Factor was the play of Avery Warley and Krystal Thomas as they combined for 21 points and 15 rebounds platooning the paint so to speak for the injured starters.

There was an odd moment on the games most pivotal play as Michelle Snow won a jump ball by the Mystics basket, but also ended up with the ball which is a violation. After that play there were 1.6 seconds on the clock and the game was over.

The effort on defense was there, tough plays were made by the rookie point guard, and more importantly the raw emotion was in the air for the Mercury. That is something they have lacked over the past 3-4 games and it was back tonight.

It wasn't a "coach's win," but it was a win for the fans as they got to see Phoenix Mercury Basketball back in action despite the obvious lack in Phoenix Mercury basketball players in uniform.

Up next for the Mercury is a home test against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, June 23rd at 7pm local time. The Mercury are 0-2 against the Sparks this season.

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