By: Kayla Mortellaro
The Phoenix Mercury scorched the 2014 WNBA season with a record-setting 29-5 win-loss total.
Led by all-star point guard, Diana Taurasi and center, Brittney Griner, the Mercury hold the best record in the league as the playoffs begin Friday, August 22, at 7:00 p.m. vs. the LA Sparks. The Mercury have home-court advantage in this best of three games Western Conference semi-final series.
With Taurasi, Griner, Candice Dupree, Penny Taylor and DeWanna Bonner all averaging double-digit points per game, the Mercury should be able to breeze past the 16-18 Sparks.
Offense comes naturally to these players but head coach, Sandy Brondello has preached to this team all season long the importance of defense in pursuit of the team’s third WNBA Championship. After practice Wednesday Brondello said,
We haven’t had a chance to practice much over the last few weeks, so it was good to get back after it today. We focused on defense. We always do.”
The Mercury finished with a league best 97.0 defensive rating for the season. The team has bought into Brondello’s methods. Leader and longest tenured player on the team, Taurasi said,
She’s one of the most prepared coaches I’ve ever played for.”
Despite such a stellar season, Brondello is keeping her team focused.
We’ve had a very good season to date, but it’s not over. There’s still a long way to go.”
Brondello’s squad now holds the league record for the most regular season wins and looks to keep that momentum going into the playoffs. The Mercury are getting point contributions from everyone on the floor and playing tight defense from start to finish. The ball moves around on the court and everyone plays unselfish basketball. Take one look at this team and you’ll see solid, fundamental skills that produce an impressive bunch to watch.
All season long the motto for the Mercury has been “Glory Awaits.” That glory of hoisting the championship trophy starts Friday night and anything but a WNBA title would be a disappointment.