The Morning After: Mercury vs Wings

Quick takes from last night's season opener between the Phoenix Mercury and the Dallas Wings.

Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury 05-18-18 (Phoenix won, 86-78) 

The "Not Imax" Experience

The referees in the Phoenix/Dallas game seemed to have opening night jitters. They went to the monitors every few minutes during the first quarter, as the referees couldn't seem to make clear calls or come to a consensus about calls. It slowed the game down and took the home Phoenix crowd out of it for a bit. Even Tom Leander, one of the announcers, was uncharacteristically snippy about the delays. The refs seemed to get it together (replay-wise, that is) as the game went on, which was a mercy. They missed some obvious calls, which wasn't. As long as the league doesn't start doing the rather unhelpful "Last Two-Minute (L2M)" reports, we'll be fine.

Watch out for the Big Girl

Real talk: Dallas' Liz Cambage gave Brittney Griner "what for" (as we say in the South) during last night's game. 

Cambage managed to get Griner into foul trouble early in the first quarter, and she sat with two quick fouls. This allowed rookie Marie Gülich to get some burn. Cambage started slow but quickly got going, and Griner picked up a third foul. She ended up sitting most of the first quarter and got under better control in the second, but picked up her fourth foul late in the third quarter. Still, she did not look like the player who just helped lead UMMC Ekaterinburg to a Euroleague championship, but turned it up in the fourth quarter (playing with her fifth foul) and ended with 13 points. Hopefully, she won't let Cambage take up that much real estate in her head moving forward, as the teams meet twice more (once in July, once in August) in the regular season.

So Bri-zy

Briann January lit it up in her Mercury debut, running the point and pretty much getting what she wanted against the Wings.

Rainbow Bright

Taurasi made her 1,000th career three-pointer late in the third quarter (she ended the game with 1,001 threes and 26 points). She joins Klay Thompson, Steph Curry (both of the Golden State Warriors), and Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) as the fastest players to reach 1,000 3 pointers in less than 400 games played (Taurasi made it in game #399). She is also the first WNBA player ever to reach that milestone. Just another day at the office for the GOAT.

Mama Don't Take No Mess

DeWanna Bonner, who sat out last season and recently gave birth to twins, took up where she left off. She was everywhere: in the post, on the perimeter, drawing fouls, getting rebounds, and taking contact. Lots of contact: an inadvertent elbow to the face from Karima Christmas-Kelly and a hit from Kaela Davis.  She ended the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Welcome back, Bonner!

Lyttle by Little

Sancho Lyttle, in her first regular season game as a Mercury member, showed why she was signed in the offseason. She didn't score much, but that wasn't her job; instead, her veteran presence (she enters her 14th season) and defensive skills kept the Mercury in the game. Camille Little came off the bench and while her stat sheet didn't seem like much  (1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 points), her presence was much appreciated as well. It's all about intangibles with these two.

Help Me Help You

Bonner: three assists. January: four assists. Leilani Mitchell: five assists.  Lyttle, Little, Taurasi, and Stephanie Talbot: one assist each. Team total: 16 assists. Sharing is caring!

The Os Did Not Have It

The Mercury only had three -- count 'em-- offensive rebounds throughout the whole game. A lot of that had to do with Griner being on the bench with foul trouble and Dallas's aggressive defense. Do better, Phoenix.

Charity Begins at Home

The Mercury went to the free throw line 27 times and scored 24 points. As Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."

Baby, I Used to Love You

Griner gave a vicious swat to a Glory Johnson shot during the second quarter. Basketball therapy for the win!

All about the Grants

As part of the "Brittney Blocks" initiative, ABUS is donating $50 to Phoenix Children's Hospital for every recorded block that Griner makes in a game. Last night, she made two recorded blocks during the game and netted the hospital a Benjamin ($100). BG is for the children! Current tally: $100

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