Penny Taylor #13 of the Phoenix Mercury during Game Two of the WNBA semifinal playoffs against the Los Angeles Sparks at US Airways Center on September 21, 2013.
Photographer: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
PHOENIX - Diana Taurasi returns healthy, Penny Taylor is back and the Mercury get the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft and select the best college basketball player in the country, Brittney Griner.
But when the season started, the Mercury underwhelmed us, going from a sure bet to be in the discussion for a championship, to falling well behind in the Western Conference.
Sure, Diana Taurasi had another All-Star season, finishing second in the WNBA in points per game (20.8) and Brittney Griner was a big draw for fans, but other than that, there just wasn’t much to cheer about.
Finishing with a 19-15 regular season record in third place in the West, isn’t what any of us envisioned for this team. Sure, the Mercury fired coach Corey Gaines in early August, but by that point the team was 10-11 with just 13 games to play. Interim coach Russ Pennell didn’t have much of a chance to right the ship.
But this isn’t about Russ Pennell or Corey Gaines for that matter. What concerns me the most is that with all the talent on the roster, this team clearly under-performed.
Griner, who was supposed to be a force under the basket, finished in seventh place in blocks per game and often times stood nearly motionless while her teammates ran around her, looking to find a way to pass her the ball.
Fourteen consecutive losses to the Minnesota Lynx doesn’t exactly instill confidence in us that the Mercury will somehow be able to beat the team that’s making their third consecutive trip to the Finals in the future.
The Mercury lost two straight to the Lynx in the Western Conference Finals, and 85-62 blowout in game one in Minneapolis, and a 72-65 loss in game two at U.S. Airways Center.
Another interesting statistic is that the Mercury didn’t have any player in the top 10 in the league in rebounds. Not Griner, not Penny Taylor, not DeWanna Bonner, not Candice Dupree.
Sadly, the 2013 Phoenix Mercury ended up being a lot more hype than success, and with the roster assembled, the problems lie deeper than who’s coaching. The front office needs to take a long, hard look at what’s going on and why.
It’s too easy to point to poor coaching or injuries, but this team is in need of some serious roster moves. Losing 14 straight to Minnesota is unacceptable!
That’s Fouhy on Sports!
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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