The Phoenix Mercury (2-6) had their roughest night yet amid a rocky start to their season, as Diana Taurasi went scoreless and Brittney Griner exited with an injury in Tuesday’s 83-59 loss to the Seattle Storm.
“We have got to get our chemistry together, because if not, it’s gonna be a long, long season,” Phoenix guard Sophie Cunningham said after the game.
Taurasi was held scoreless for just the fifth time in her 19-season career, and for the first time since 2019.
Griner, who leads the team with 20.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, finished with just two points and missed the second half with a hip injury. The 6-9 center was coming off a season-high 29 points in Sunday’s 85-82 win against the Indiana Fever.
While the Storm gave up just nine turnovers, they forced 16, and Seattle rookie Jordan Horston had her first-career double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
“Turnovers were definitely a factor – unforced ones,” Phoenix 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. … Without having BG in there, that hurts our rebounding.”
As for Taurasi, Cunningham thinks the officiating in the game hampered the veteran guard in the loss.
“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 honestly 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 If I was a ref, I’d be pretty embarrassed.”
And Nygaard backed her up: “There’s just enough clips we’ve put together from the same game, similar cut. The calls — D doesn’t get them. It’s just tough right now. She gets frustrated.”
In spite of the issues with the officiating, the Mercury – who made the playoffs last season and were in the WNBA Finals the season before – are looking to turn their season around.
“I’m tired of losing,” 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. … But you’ve got to show up, keep working hard. Eventually things will turn around. These times right here is what makes the high’s really high and exciting.”