Phoenix Mercury Wins First Home Game On Random Act Of Kindness Night

Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith

It’s been a memorable week full of playoff basketball, buzzer beaters, and blowouts for Phoenix basketball fans. Tonight many of those same fans were likely toggling between watching the Suns in Game 6 and cheering on some of the WNBA’s finest at home.

While the Suns were dominating the Lakers, the Mercury were celebrating a 77-74 overtime win on Random Act of Kindness night in Phoenix. The Mercury outscored the Sky in the paint 42-32 and had some players put up some historic numbers. Brittney Griner made history before closing out the first quarter, becoming one of just two WNBA players in the 4,000 point club.

The Phoenix Mercury roster is flooded with talented players like Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi but there was another prodigy at the arena tonight. After closing out the first quarter with Mercury leading the Sky 18-16, all eyes were on another young woman making history. 

The Phoenix Mercury partnered with Desert Financial Credit Union, Frys Food Stores, and Arizona State University to present a random act of kindness to 12-year-old Alena Wicker.

The “young prodigy” received a scholarship to cover four years of tuition at Arizona State University. Yes, she’s 12 years old and is already a student at ASU studying engineering. 

“Obviously she’s a child prodigy and she wants to work for NASA one day,” said Jeff Meshey, the president and CEO of Desert Financial Credit Union.

Coming off of the buzzer-beating win against the Sky on Tuesday, Kia Nurse didn’t take long to make big plays in this rematch scoring 9 points in the first half. Skylar Diggins-Smith also produced in the first half putting up 12 points in the first half. 

Griner was playing her best basketball in the third quarter, swatting away two balls and even dunking on the Sky. Griner initially missed her first dunk attempt of the game but decided her next opportunity to dunk would be a success. 

“I told Sky I’m not going up for the layup again, if I go to the rim like that I’m gonna dunk it,” Griner said. “I’m either I’m gonna get hung or I’m gonna make it.”

“I definitely think it was a spark,” Griner said. “Everyone was kind of lit after.”

Even with Griner’s eye-catching plays, the Mercury lost the lead in the third quarter, 51-43. However, it was Diggins-Smith in the fourth quarter who was really fighting for a comeback drawing two And Ones. Fans rose to their feet as the Mercury trailed by just three points with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Chicago led by as many as 13 points in the game but they couldn’t hold onto it in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Diggins-Smith tied the game at 65 after sinking a free throw and the game was forced into overtime. 

There were two lead-changes in overtime but it was ultimately the Mercury that came out on top defeating the Sky 77-74. The overtime win was their first home win of the season and their second straight win against the Chicago Sky. 

“It was a game of runs,” Diggins-Smith said. “Overall I thought we just grinded out another gritty win.” 

Diggins-Smith also credited the “X-Factor” tonight, saying the crowd helped them earn their first home win of the season.