Mercury squander opportunity ahead of tough stretch

Courtesy: Mercury

Going into its matchup against the Storm, the Mercury was favored by six.

Phoenix (2-6) ended up falling 83-69.

“I’m tired of losing,” guard Sophie Cunningham said. “I’m ready to catch a rhythm with our team. Enough is enough. Our vibe has got to change. Our energy’s gotta change…these times right here is what makes the high’s really high and exciting.”

It was a chance to notch a crucial win before facing the gauntlet of the Mystics, Liberty, and Aces.

By the end of the first half, Diana Taurasi (0-6 FG) and Brittney Griner (1-5 FG) combined for two points – and with Griner out the second half with a hip injury, the duo finished with just that – two points.

“I’ll have D’s back,” Cunningham said. “I think she’s getting screwed on a lot of calls. She’s the GOAT of our game. I’m probably gonna get fined…It’s embarrassing…they’re worried about the wrong things. Focus on what you do and call it. She’s put in enough time, enough blood, enough sweat and tears, that you gotta give her a little bit respect and right now – If I was a ref, I’d be pretty embarrassed.”

It was PHX’s fourth game in seven days (including travel days) but the team wasn’t using that as an excuse.

“We have got to get our chemistry together, because if not, it’s gonna be a long, long season,” Cunningham said.

The Storm forced 16 Phoenix turnovers compared to Seattle’s nine.

Sami Whitcomb dropped 18 points (six three-pointers), Jewell Loyd put up 17, and Jordan Horston had her first career double-double with 13 points and 14 boards. 

“Turnovers were definitely a factor – unforced one’s,” head coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “We’re gonna look at the game, see what we can do better, and be ready for our next game.”

Cunningham did all she could for her squad, scoring 21 points in 30 minutes on 7 of 16 shooting.

“When we get it and we’re in transition, that’s our best offense right now,” Cunningham said. “It’s cool that it was my night, but who cares?”

Guard Sug Sutton (15 points, six rebounds) has continued to be a reliable energy source, often picking up the opposing team’s best player while contributing offensively as well.

“That’s the role that I have on this team,” Sutton said. “Continue to bring excitement to our offense while also being a really good defender.”

The Mercury will need that spark and more as it hits the road again to face the Mystics on Friday at 5 pm.

More sights and sounds from the game: