Hello everyone, I was asked by good ol' Phoenix Stan to cover a few WNBA games this week. You may know me from House Of Sparky, SBNation's ASU blog.
Entering today's game against Sacramento, the Phoenix Mercury were 10-4, good for first place in the Western Conference standings. Sacramento, on the other hand, sits at a very pedestrian 3-10 on the season, giving them the worst record in the entire WNBA by a fairly wide margin.
Officially labeled as "Mercury Matinee," today's early start was mainly attributed to the thousands of summer campers that infiltrated US Airways Center this afternoon. Adorned in various colors representing their camp, the children certainly represented the lion's share of the rather sizable attendance.
The game got off to a thunderous start, with both teams scoring seven points within the first minute and a half of play. Both teams soon began turning the ball over in front of this large crowd, but both the Mercury and the Monarchs continued to pour the ball into the basket.
Today is purportedly Scorch's birthday, and the Suns gorilla, Howler the Coyote, and Sparky the Sun Devil were on hand to play musical chairs during the commercial break, among other trivial events existing to please the kid-centric crowd.
At the half, Phoenix held a 48-39 lead, with a 61.5% FG% and 64% from beyond the arc. Interestingly enough, Phoenix shot only 64% from the charity stripe in the first half as well, showing a consistency that would drive many coaches mad.
Phoenix displayed a high level of passing acumen today, finding the open man with ease and accuracy. Cappie Pondexter had 8 assists with 6:58 remaining in the 3rd quarter, and that total continued to skyrocket, reaching 15 late in the 4th before she was removed by Corey Gaines.
Everyone on the Mercury roster tallied playing time this afternoon, including Brooke Smith, who is rumored to be on the chopping block with the imminent return of Penny Taylor.
Sacramento was able to stick around for a while, but it became apparent during the 3rd quarter that Phoenix was just too deep and talented for the Monarchs to handle. With 11,590 screaming fans supporting the hometown team, there was no realistic way that Sacramento could keep up.
With the win, Phoenix is 11-4 on the season, with Sacramento dropping to 3-11. Check back for coverage of the postgame comments from Diana Taurasi and others.