|New York Liberty||4||2||.667||1.5|
|Los Angeles Sparks||4||2||.667||.5|
|San Antonio Silver Stars||2||5||.286||3|
Player of the Week: Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
For the second consecutive week, Phoenix Mercury star guard Diana Taurasi played like an MVP.
If averaging 30.0 points per game last week wasn’t enough for you, Taurasi actually elevated her game during this past week of play. From flirting with a triple-double to reaching the free throw line at virtual will, Taurasi was dominant in every phase of the game and led Phoenix to wins in two of their three games.
A true superstar week.
It started with a 108-103 victory over Glory Johnson and the Tulsa Shock, as Taurasi led the Mercury to a momentous overtime victory. Not only did she hit five free throws during the final 25.0 seconds of regulation, but the former Connecticut Huskies star scored eight points during the overtime.
For the game, she finished with 29 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and three steals on 8-of-18 shooting from the field, 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Just three days later, Taurasi was at it again, scoring 28 points in an 80-69 loss to Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx. On the heels of that defeat, Taurasi reminded us why she’s not only one of the greatest individual players in the WNBA, but how powerful of a leader she can be with her on-court production and guidance.
Taurasi scored 31 points and added five rebounds and five assists on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, 3-of-7 from three-point range and 10-of-11 from the free throw line to lead Phoenix to a 90-82 victory over the Washington Mystics. The MVP race just got interesting.
For the first time this season, the Rookie of the Week competition is looking stiff. Elena Delle Donne picked up another 20-plus point performance, but she wasn’t alone—so did Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins, en route to the best week of rookie basketball we’ve seen all season.
Delle Donne remains atop the Rookie of the Year rankings, but this week belonged to Griner.
Griner finished the week with averages of 15.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in 23.7 minutes per game. Not only was she a two-way force, but the clinching factor here is that Griner’s Phoenix Mercury defeated Diggins’ Tulsa Shock in an insane overtime contest.
It doesn’t hurt that Griner’s most recent performance may have been her best of the season.
Matched up against the Washington Mystics, Griner broke through with a career-high 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. The former Baylor Bears star added four blocks and led the Mercury to a tough 90-82 victory and thus brought Phoenix’s record to an even .500.
The fact that she did all of this in 26 minutes may be the most impressive feat of all.
As for Delle Donne, she dropped 25 against the Atlanta Dream to overcome the swarming defense of Angel McCoughtry and company. Diggins, meanwhile, scored a career-high 22 against Griner and the Mercury and continues to be one of the top facilitators in the WNBA.
The first-year players are shining.
Game of the Week: Phoenix Mercury 108, Tulsa Shock 103 OT
In one of the most riveting games of the 2013 WNBA season, the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Tulsa Shock by a score of 108-103 in an overtime affair. Rookies Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins crossed paths for the first time, Diana Taurasi reminded us why she’s a former MVP and Glory Johnson continued to be the most under-appreciated player in the WNBA.
Don’t worry Glory, you’re on my All-Star ballot.
Johnson was one of three Shock players with at least 20 points, tallying 32 and 15 rebounds in 39 minutes of play. Riquna Williams added a season-high 28 points, while Diggins scored a career-high 22 points with eight assists and three steals.
Shockingly, that wasn’t enough to pick up the win.
Taurasi led the Mercury with a near triple-double of 29 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, while Candice Dupree picked up a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. DeWanna Bonner added 23 points and four three-point field goals, while Griner picked up 16 points and five blocks, and Charde Houston had 10 points in 19 minutes.
When it was all said and done, it was all about clutch shooting.
Johnson tied the game at 88-88 with 44.8 seconds remaining, but Taurasi quickly responded with four consecutive free throws to make it 92-88 with 15.7 seconds left. Diggins stepped up to make it 92-90, but with 8.3 seconds on the clock, all appeared to be lost.
Just like that, Taurasi split her free throws—her first miss of the night—and the door was opened.
Riquna Williams continued her marvelous performance, taking the ball and throwing up a shot with 0.3 seconds remaining. It found the bottom of the net, was ruled a 3-pointer and just like that, we were headed to overtime at 93-93. 100 percent clutch.
Both teams piled on the points in overtime, but behind Taurasi and Dupree’s shooting clinic the Mercury were able to pull away for a exhilarating 108-103 victory.
|1.||Angel McCoughtry||Atlanta Dream||19.4||6.4||5.0||0.9||3.6|
|2.||Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury||24.6||3.8||4.5||0.5||1.1|
|3.||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks||14.5||9.5||3.2||2.7||1.2|
|4.||Maya Moore||Minnesota Lynx||18.1||6.7||3.1||0.6||1.3|
|5.||Tina Charles||Connecticut Sun||18.6||10.0||2.1||1.7||1.3|
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