Sun Look to Beat Mercury for Sixth Straight Time
It wasn’t that long ago when the Phoenix Mercury won 10 of 15 games in the series with the Connecticut Sun. The tide has certainly changed. Tuesday’s 87-63 victory was the fifth straight by Connecticut in the series with the Sun 9-1 over the last 10 meetings with Phoenix.
The teams are in different places in the standings. Connecticut is now 1½ games ahead of Seattle and in third place. The Sun is only one game behind second-place Las Vegas. Although Phoenix is tied with Atlanta and New York with the seventh-best record, because of the WNBA tiebreakers, the Mercury would miss the playoffs if the season started today.
If Phoenix, which played in the WNBA Finals in 2021, does miss the postseason, the struggles away from home will be the culprit. The Mercury has lost five road games in a row to fall to 4-13 on the road.
Connecticut (+550) is fourth in the odds to win the WNBA championship according to the WNBA playoff odds. Phoenix comes in at +8000.
Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones, last year’s MVP, has moved up to +1400 in the current MVP odds, which places her fourth while Skylar Diggins-Smith is tied for 10th at +4000.
Taurasi Ailing for Struggling Mercury
Diana Taurasi is the only Phoenix player to appear in all 31 games. Could that streak be in jeopardy?
The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer failed to score and played just 11 minutes when the teams played on Tuesday. That scoreless streak ended a run of eight straight double-digit games for Taurasi.
Taurasi is considered day-to-day for the game so keep an eye on her status. Phoenix had to go up against Connecticut on Tuesday without Diamond DeShields as a result of a hip injury and Kia Nurse, who hasn’t played all season due to a knee injury. Speaking of not playing during the 2022 season, perennial All-Star Brittney Griner remains in a Russian prison.
While Shey Peddy and Sophie Cunningham have done their best to try to make up for the absence of their injured teammates, there are just too many missing pieces for the Mercury this season.
Phoenix has failed to cover against the Las Vegas odds in seven of its last 10 games.
Bonner Thriving Against Former Team
One of the most noteworthy transactions in the history of the Connecticut Sun franchise was when the Sun traded three first-round picks to acquire DeWanna Bonner.
Bonner has played against the Mercury seven times since the trade. She is averaging 20.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in those contests. Perhaps the most important number is Connecticut’s 6-1 record against Phoenix during that time.
As for the other part of the trade, one of those first-round picks was part of a deal that brought All-Star guard Diggins-Smith to Phoenix and another one was involved in the move that resulted in Nurse moving from New York to Phoenix.
With Alyssa Thomas, who is coming off her second triple-double of the season, 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones and Brionna Jones, Bonner isn’t being asked to score with the same frequency as she did. Her 13.8 scoring average is the lowest since the 2014 season.
Connecticut added veteran guard Odyssey Sims with the hope that she will give the Sun another scoring option off the bench.
— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) August 3, 2022
Something to consider for those who bet online: Connecticut is 5-1 against the spread over the last four games.
Mercury vs Sun Game Information
- Game: Mercury 13-18 (4-13 on the road) vs Sun 21-10 (11-5 at home)
- Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
- Day/Time: Thursday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m. ET
- Mercury vs Sun Live Stream: WNBA.com
Mercury vs Sun Betting Lines
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Total||Team Total|
|Phoenix Mercury||+12 -110||+550||164½ -110o||76½ -115o / 76½ -115u|
|Connecticut Sun||-12 -110||-750||164½ -110u||88½ -115o / 88½ -115u|
Mercury vs Sun Prediction
Keep an eye on who is available to play for Phoenix. DeShields is listed as probable while Taurasi is questionable. With Phoenix fighting to get into the playoffs and with Taurasi proving her ability to play through injuries, her quad issue would have to be pretty significant for her to sit this one out.
Don’t expect another 24-point win by Connecticut. The final margin in Tuesday’s game is a little deceiving as it was a 12-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
Seven different Connecticut players scored in double figures in the victory and it will be all hands on deck once again in this one.
Jonquel Jones leads Connecticut with 34 points in the first two games against Phoenix while Brionna Jones is averaging 14.5 points followed by Bonner (13 points per game) and Natisha Hiedeman (12.5). Perhaps the number to remember comes from Thomas with 17 assists and only five turnovers against the Mercury in 2022.
Among the seven Phoenix players who have seen at least 20 minutes of action in the two games against Connecticut, only reserve forward Megan Gustafson is shooting better than 40 percent.
Expect Connecticut to complete the season sweep of Phoenix, but it might be hard to cover against the double-digit point spread.