Mercury get first season win, over Fever: 82-67

Just before game time in Indianapolis today, it was announced that Phoenix center Brittney Griner would be out for the game with a left knee sprain. It was the debut of the ref cam, but all eyes were on the game. In the end, Diana Taurasi lead the Mercury over the Fever, 82-67, for their first season win.

There were a total of five technicals assessed in the game – three on Phoenix players and two on Fever players. Yes, it was a hotly-contested match up. And understandably, as it was on ABC.

Taurasi said in the post-game interview that she needs to step it up, because she hasn’t been bringing it. Fans on social networks respect her honesty, but many criticized her for the cussing that earned her a technical foul, and continued after the fact.

I asked the question on twitter: does the Mercury play better with or without Griner? Here are the responses. Feel free to make your own comment.

LAL/Sparks Fan Girl ‏@ShortyMamba24 @hoopism Without Griner

Breanna Saunders ‏@bballer223 @hoopism without and that’s just real talk.

WNBA Jones ‏@WNBAJones @hoopism dont think it’s a matter of with or without. The Merc system is custom fit and it either takes time or the player isnt right for it. Right now, too early to tell for Griner. Lets see how they do vs LAS. For Prahalis, might not b with PHX long. Good player though.

natalia foster ‏@fosternat_7895 @hoopism it will take time

MEECY♥ ‏@queenmaraj @hoopism ill give it one more game before i make judgement but like i said since the beginning of the season edd was the perfect fit here

joe perilli ‏@joeperilli1 @hoopism IMHO BG is gonna B even better in the WNBA than she was in HS or College (& she’s gonna ultra KILL in China) Like U said more earlier this week both the Merc and the Shock need to b givin time to team up!!!!

Christie Collins ‏@ccollin13 @hoopism They’re putting a square peg into a round hole. If you have 1 of the best pure centers in the world, you fit your system to her.

texsbill ‏@texs2424 @hoopism play bettr short-term w/o (possibly). but 10-20 games w/ griner shud b among best ever.

Rita Mary ‏@rmjs19 @hoopism if was do or die today. Knee sprain blessing in disguise. Old teammates perfect fit, rhythm, timing.

cboonestyle ‏@boonecattee @hoopism Right now? Better without Griner. Too slow for his system; needs time to adjust.

Robert Phipps ‏@rjp172 @hoopism To many teams injury riddled to know how good each team really is. Hard to use Indiana as a measuring stick right now.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Too early to tell whether the Mercury plays better with or without Brittany Griner,like some have tweeted. Griner may be in shape, but is she in WNBA shape? Also Diana Taurasi admitted that was wasn't "bringing it", so one has to throw that in there too. Too soon.

  2. Fan's irritation with Taurasi stem from her years and years of cursing at refs – not just yesterday. She's been the league leader in technical fouls every season for quite some time. Fans say she should have grown out of that by now.

  3. The Mercury, both individually & collectively, seem yet to have developed a comfort level when it comes to playing with Brittney.
    At this point, are they not more likely to get into a good rhythm (as they did yesterday) playing without her?

    I'd like to see Taurasi take some ownership for the development of an iconic player.
    I'm old enough to recall when Tiny Archibald provided that little service to a fella named Bird.

  4. I'm no big Taurasi fan, but the refs were unusually horrible in this game. Five technicals?!? Not a good thing. The ref cam shows that the W is at least trying to do some interesting stuff which is good. By the way this is not a new idea in pro sports. That said it didn't seem particularly effective to me.

    Given that Richie is now in her third season, the "Three to See" promotion has pretty much run its course and the recent visibility of Griner's "already out / coming out" thingy, her ESPN Magazine / Snake cover and article and the resulting Baylor drama, I'm personally interested in how W attendance results compare to last year which as we know was the lowest in the history of the league.

    One caveat – I'm taking this data straight off the Box Scores published by ESPN after each game. I have no idea how many of the attendees paid or didn't pay for their respective seats but am assuming that the distribution remains relatively flat year over year. Meaning that comparing annual game averages is a valid comparison.

    Through 23 games reported as of last night attendance has averaged 7,860 seats, which is 5.4% higher than the 2012 season year end results of 7,457 seats. Probably not a real valid comparison since you would assume some high attendance early this year due to the kick off of the season. There have been three games this year with attendance of over 10,000 seats.

    Of more concern, for the seven games played on 6/7 & 6/8 five of them had attendance of below 6,900 seats. So we should hope that this trends abates.

    Further it's concerning that some of the strongest media markets continue to struggle with attendance, reference Chicago and LA. The Sparks only had 6110 seats last night. Would have thought they would do better than that with Diggins in town.

    Will be interesting to watch through the season.

  5. The PHX situation is interesting. Gaines obviously can coach as he took the Mercury to one of their titles. That said, if that wasn't the case a neutral observer might think the guy just can't coach very well. He's a Westhead acolyte so it's not like he has successfully coaching a Griner type baller on his resume.

    I think Taurasi is really frustrated with Gaines, Griner, the Mercury / W PR strategy and it shows. She pretty much acknowledged in the post game interview that she just hadn't brought it. Credit to her for not blaming anyone else and just saying it was on her and now she's bringing it. To me what that means is that Griner is going to have to fit the Mercury not vice versa, particularly if Gaines can't bring a specific, well thought out plan that somehow incorporates Griner's current skill set and assures some reasonable level of success.

    I agree with both of you. Taurasi isn't changing and given her near iconic status in WBB a person probably shouldn't expect her to. That said if a new viewer tuned into that game they would not have been impressed on many levels. One of them being Taurasi's attitude.

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