"The ref's did great. [inaudible shrug]." - Coach Corey Gaines discussing the 30 to 15 free throw attempt disparity
"They're amazing. They were great." - Diana Taurasi commenting on the officials
"They were more aggressive. That's what happens when you come in and set the tempo the referees tend to go to your side. You attack and get more confident. That's what happened. I'm not going to sit up here and blame the referees or make any excuses for ourselves. It's a loss, we didn't deserve the win." - Cappie Pondexter on the more aggressive team getting the calls
After a game like this there's nothing easier than blaming the officials for a 100% free throw attempt disparity. Add to that the obvious key point which as Fever head Coach Linn Dunn explained was the 17-2 lead out of the gate and it would be pretty simple to end this story right there.
But those points along with the 43 to 26 rebounding disparity were only symptoms for this Mercury defeat. The real cause goes deeper and while I am not sure I know what it is, Cappie once again gives us the most unvarnished look at what really went on tonight.
"I caught myself standing around a lot in the second half when I didn't get involved with the offense...It was basically the team and myself. I did a lot of standing around. When I wasn't getting the ball I should have been more effective going to the offensive glass and moving a lot more on the offensive end," Cappie explained about her and the team's performance.
Cappie took the blame on herself but she was not the only one that looked a step slow and somewhat lethargic. It was an unusual game in that while the intensity level was good and a couple of players like Ketia Swanier and Dewanner Bonner brought their usual high energy output there was a distinct lack oomph on balance and in the end that was behind all those lopsided numbers in the box score.
So if lack of oomph was the cause what was the cause of that. Once again, Cappie Pondexter gives us a glimpse, "You know we just came off the two week road trip so mentally it's a little draining but again you know I'm here because I love to play basketball. Just got to make some adjustments. I'm going to take these two days off and go from there. I'll be back. Guarantee, I'll be back."
Cappie is going to Chicago for a couple days to "spend some quality time" with her new home she recently purchased in the Windy City. She plans on using her two days off to, "readjust and refocus."
Fortunately, the Mercury have plenty of time to readjust and refocus with their next game not coming for four days. Cappie promised a better effort next time, "San Antonio on the 13th. I'm sure you'll see a whole different game from the Mercury. I can guarantee you that. I can promise you that."
So there you have it. Whether it is the draining effect of the road trip and the season overall or some other factor which Cappie hinted at in her twitter feed the Fever can be happy with their win but they did not beat the Mercury at their best.
- The Mercury felt tight in the opening minutes. The offense didn't have it's normal flow. The defensive rotations were slow. This lead to a 17-2 run for the Fever to start the game before the Mercury could claw their way back in
- The Fever were 5 for 9 (55%) from three in the 1st quarter while the Mercury were 0 for 6
- At about 5:20 in the 1st quarter, the Mercury perimeter defense stepped up the pressure and traps forced 3 consecutive turnovers which lead to fast break points
- The Mercury forced 15 turnovers which lead to 20 points and a 28 to 5 fast break advantage for Phoenix
- The fast break points are the reason for the Mercury's 48.5% feild goal shooting which masked an over all poor shooting night. The fast break points also contributed to a 44 to 18 points in the paint advantage for Phoenix
- Nicole Ohlde was held out of the game by the team doctor. Nicole expects to play on Thursday. She said she feels great but the doctor was worried about hard contact on the wrist
- Penny Taylor made her home debut at the beginning of the 2nd period and score 5 quick points but only finished with 11 points on 2 for 8 shooting. She never looked in the flow and when she was matched up with Katie Douglas on the perimeter she got torched
- Cappie looked tired early (that's from my notes in the 2nd period)
- In the 1st half the officials were allowing a lot of contact on both ends. In the 1st half the Mercury had 5 fouls and the Fever had 4
- In the 3rd quarter that changed and the Fever got to line for 12 attempts while the Mercury only had 6
- On the last play of the 1st half Diana drove from the wing and scooped the ball to Dewanna at the front of the rim for a beautiful play. Taurasi told me that the play wasn't designed but that she knows that Bonner would be there and that she could finish the lob
- The Mercury closed the lead to 3 (60-63) at the 2:30 mark in the 3rd quarter but were outscored 10 to 4 to close the quarter. Briann January and Kattie Douglas both hit timely 3's during that stretch
- The Mercury held the Fever to only 18% shooting in the fourth but couldn't take advantage by grabbing the rebounds
- Tameka Johnson hit a couple of nice mid range J's in the 3rd but only played about 3 minutes in the final period. Her back up Ketia Swanier played great. She was all over the floor diving for balls and creating turnovers. She pushed the paced and ended up with 6 assists in 14 minutes. She did pass up some wide open looks but on both occasions she pump faked from the corner and drove and was able to create
- The lineup on the flor for the final few minutes to try and steal the game was Cappie, Diana, Penny, Bonner and T. Smith. It's an interesting look. Big and versitile. Defensively they switched on EVERYTHING and
- Bonner was fantastic with a weak side block and a couple of late buckets. She was 7 for 9 for 15 points and was far more in control than we've seen her