Something had to give when the Phoenix Mercury, losers of seven straight hosted the San Antonio Silver Stars, winners of 10 straight. Well, maybe nothing had to give, but those two streaks did play a major factor in the outcome of this game.
It was a tough first half where DeWanna Bonner unfortunately picked up right where she left off from the last outing as she scored only three points. The Mercury as a team struggled to get any offense going consistently dribbling out the shot-clock before kicking the ball to an unwanting offensive threat.
Too often the ball found its way into the hands of Dymond Simon, Lynetta Kizer, and Avery Warley with less than five seconds on the clock. That is no way to score as the Mercury fell behind 41-22 at the half.
It is tough to be in any game when Samantha Prahalis (1-7) and Bonner (1-7) shoot a combined 2-14 from the field, a combined 0-4 from three in a half.
Coach Gaines joked after the game about the way teams are focusing on Bonner and Prahalis asking if we had any ideas to share them, “If you got any ideas tell me, I will gladly take them.”
The second half was only good in the respect that the Mercury matched their first half scoring output (22) in the third quarter. There was more of a flow on offense as Prahalis assisted on four baskets. On the other hand the defense gave up 24 more points keeping the Mercury at bay.
This loss was a tough one for the Mercury (4-17) as they drop two straight out of the Olympic Break and the Silver Stars (15-5) continue rolling with an 11-game winning streak 89-47.
Bonner (10 points 5 rebounds) could not get anything going on offense struggling to score from the perimeter all game. The same can be said for Prahalis (8 points 4 assists 5 rebounds) as she struggled to get any offense going. This game was all about Alexis Hornbuckle (11 points 7 rebounds 3 assists 3 steals) as she did everything in her power to push the team to victory, but it was not enough. Her effort and energy in the first quarter was the difference in a 7 point difference that easily could have been a 20 point difference.
“I just feel like with the injuries anyone can step up and have a great game on this team,” said Hornbuckle after the game. “I never want to be a liability whether it is on defense or offense. Over the break I took it upon myself to get better.”
Overall this season has been tough as role players have been cast into the role of team leaders by default. It is starting to wear on the likes of Bonner and Samantha Prahalis as defenses are keying on them more forcing them into tougher situations than they were seeing say 10-15 games ago.
“There is like 60 points on the bench,” stated Coach Gaines after the game when asked about his other players getting a chance to step up. Then when you rely on others who are not used to being in that spot you get mixed results, “they are not those type of players they are role players.”
Up next for the Mercury is another home game on Thursday night at 7pm local time as they host the New York Liberty at U.S. Airways Center.