The Mercury are getting hot, only in frustration, not on the basketball court.
Phoenix, once the hottest team in the WNBA, is now one of the coldest and no better example of the Mercury's angst shows in veteran guard Diana Taurasi suspended for Wednesday's home game with the Chicago Sky because she reached the WNBA technical foul limit.
Taurasi was assessed two technical fouls in the second quarter last week against visiting Minnesota in an 80-75 loss. That put her at the suspension limit of seven technical fouls this season. This is her fourth suspension for too many technical fouls, twice serving in 2013 for reaching the seven- and nine-technical limits and one game in 2016.
Phoenix (15-10) has lost five of its last six games, including two at home against Las Vegas and Minnesota in the Mercury's last two games.
"Every game is important for us," Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said after the loss to the Lynx on Saturday in which Taurasi was ejected. "We just have to regroup and move forward and play with the same intensity we did tonight. We're capable of beating anyone regardless. Usually when Diana goes out, we kind of crumble, but we fought back tonight."
Phoenix is now tied for the third-best record in the league with the Los Angeles Sparks. The Mercury is only two games better in the loss column than the No. 8 (final playoff spot) team Connecticut (13-12).
"When our best player's not there, that's the role, to step up," guard Stephanie Talbot said of Taurasi's absence. "I think if we can all play like that when she comes back into the game next game, then we're in a good place."
Chicago (8-17) visits Phoenix for a matinee game Wednesday looking to rebound from a 93-76 loss to the Sparks at home on Sunday. The Sky failed to put consecutive wins together after upsetting Dallas 114-99 at home last Friday.
Stephanie Dolson finished with 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Sky, which travels to Phoenix with a 2-9 road record. Dolson has scored in double figures five straight games.
After recording the seventh triple-double in WNBA history against the Wings, Courtney Vandersloot almost achieved the feat again. The seven-year veteran had 15 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
"One of (of the positives) is that our experienced players continue to play well and lead," Chicago coach Amber Stocks said. "(Vandersloot) and Stefanie are doing a great job of leading and setting the tone and standard of Chicago basketball.
"Our younger players are making some mistakes, and they are going to follow, adjust and grow."
Phoenix is 2-0 against the Sky this season, including a 96-79 win at home June 8.
Mercury hot ... under the collar ahead of matchup with Sky
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