Before tonight’s game Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was convinced that this would be the night Mercury Sun star Penny Taylor would return to action.
Moments later, Mercury coach Corey Gaines squelched that rumor. “She’s close, she’s close,” Gaines said of Taylor, who is still working to return from ACL surgery on her left leg that caused her to miss the 2012 WNBA season. “Not 83, 87, 92 but 100 percent. I think we have time. We’ve lost two games, but there is no panic button yet.”
Yes, even with Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner, the Mercury – preseason favorites to win the league – have come out of the gate 0-2. Part of that is getting used to Griner in the post. But Reeve is convinced that a lot of it has to do with the Mercury playing without their star forward.
“When they get everybody back and get it all together, they’re going to be really, really good,” Reeve said. “People don’t realize (Taylor) is one of the best players in the world. When you have Taurasi and Taylor, two of the best players in the world – not in the league, but in the world – it has to help you. (With Taylor) you might have the best starting five in the league when it’s all together.”
But tonight it won’t be.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy for the Lynx. The Mercury figures to be highly motivated to avoid starting 0-3. And even without Taylor the Mercury can score.
Keys to the game according to Reeve?
“Our defense has to be on point and our rebounding has to be on point,” Reeve said. “If that happens that means we’re playing well. When we do that we usually get a good flow to the offense.’’
Other items as we get ready for tipoff:
--Phoenix coach Corey Gaines admitted that Chicago guard/forward Elena Delle Donne is probably ahead of Griner in the early going as far as leading the Rookie of the Year race. Delle Donne, Gaines pointed out, has the ball in her hands on nearly every play while Griner, a big, has to be given the ball. Griner, under the spotlight as a game-changing player, has handled the pressure well, Gaines said. “And think about it,” he said. “She really hasn’t gotten into her groove yet, and she’s playing pretty well. You’ll take those number (17.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game) any time. And she’s only going to get better. … So don’t put the ballot in yet. Give her a chance.”
--Saturday’s game between Phoenix and defending champion Indiana will be shown on ABC, and will feature the first use of a “Ref Cam.’’
A wireless, high-definition camera will be positioned at eye level on one of the game’s three officials, allowing viewers to be right on the court, at least virtually. Views from the camera will be incorporated into the live broadcast.