Sunday, November 19th, 2017

San Antonio defeats Phoenix 76-71, Stars earn first win of the season

Published on June 26, 2015

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Box Score || Notes || Quotes || By the Numbers

The San Antonio Stars (1-6) earned their first win of the season, beating the reigning WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury 76-71 at Freeman Coliseum Thursday night. San Antonio’s win came without the leadership of head coach Dan Hughes for most of the game. He was ejected at 6:58 in the second quarter after contesting an offensive foul called on Jayne Appel.

Hughes, yelling at the officials, walked to the middle of the floor before getting thrown out of the game. Former Stars player and assistant coach Vickie Johnson took over along with James Wade (husband of former Stars player Edwige Lawson-Wade).

Led by veteran forward Sophia Young-Malcolm’s 21 points and seven rebounds, the Stars outhustled Phoenix from the outset, earning a 10-point lead early in the game and finishing the first quarter with a 17-9 scoring advantage. Rookie Dearica Hamby was an offensive juggernaut for the Stars with six points in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Malcolm-Young picked up where Hamby left off and put up eight points to help the Stars go into the half with a 32-27 lead.

While the Mercury (3-4) outscored the Stars in the third quarter, 27-16, to give them a 54-48 lead, they collapsed in the fourth quarter. The Stars outscored their opponents 28-17 in the fourth to close out the game and earn their first victory of the regular season.

“It was good for us to see us start the game well and end well,” said Hughes. “It was probably the first time we have had both. We’ve been on a path of rebounding better. We’ve been on a path of defending the paint. Today was a game, I thought, that gave us a chance to control the game more.”

Stars guard Danielle Robinson contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Hamby had six points to go with her 14 rebounds.

DeWanna Bonner led the Mercury with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The team was still without star center Brittney Griner who will return to action Saturday after her seven-game suspension.

Notes

  • Young-Malcolm is averaging 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last four games.
  • The Stars had a season-high field goal percentage of 42.9 percent.
  • Kalana Greene made her debut as a Star scoring three points in eight minutes of action.
    Phoenix shot a season-low 72.2 percent from the free-throw line.
  • The Mercury were held to nine points in the first quarter, a season low for points in a quarter.
  • Phoenix’s 27 third-quarter points was their highest scoring quarter this season.
  • Phoenix forced 19 San Antonio turnovers.

Quotes

Stars head coach Dan Hughes

(On how the team looked in the fourth quarter…)

“I also think that it’s just a matter of getting those people in those spots. It’s different roles for some of them. It’s continuing to understand what we’ve got to do with each other, with this group, coming through. We talked a lot before the game about what our culture is about. Yes, this is a new team, but they are part of a lot of years. I really enjoyed seeing [Jia] Perkins and [Sophia] Young-Malcolm, who have been here the most, really step up well today.”

(On what he would like to see continue to improve…)

“Well, I thought the fact of us moving the basketball, like I saw today, was some of the best ball movement I’ve seen. Shooting the ball, not only from the standpoint of ball movement, but the going inside and playing to the paint. Turning the corner, driving it hard, throwing it on the block, changes the dynamic of a team. That’s what I would love to see continue and us continue to do that. Let’s be serious, this is almost like an away game for us. This isn’t where we play. They are playing enough here now where you are starting to see some comfortability.”

Stars guard Jia Perkins

(On her overall thoughts of the game…)

“I am really proud of how we rallied together and pulled through in the fourth quarter in a tight game. We’ve been going through a lot this season. Being 0-6 is tough, but we knew we needed this win. We played like we needed this win. We came out desperate and it showed.”

(On the difference between the third and fourth quarter…)

“It seemed like they came out and were hitting a lot of shots. I know Candice (Dupree), (DeWanna) Bonner, and (Cayla) Francis got some good shots. We stayed the course. Basketball is in for the run so we stayed with it and stayed positive. We knew our time was going to come.”

(On using this game as a building block…)

“It just feels good. Sometimes you just got to get that one and get over the hill. We’re happy but we’re not satisfied. We just want to build on this. We’re glad we’ve got a quick turnaround, and keep this momentum going.”

(On her leadership role on the team…)

“We just try to lead by example. I think Sophia (Young-Malcolm) is more vocal. She is the leader on the court, talking and letting us know where to go. Myself, I just try to lead by example and Danielle (Robinson) as well. We just try to lead the young players. They did a really good job. They stayed composed and we just stayed the course.”

Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello

(On Mercury’s overall performance …)

“I’m obviously disappointed. I thought the Stars are a hungry team and they’re a talented team if you let them to be. I thought they outplayed us in a lot of areas tonight. It’s just disappointing. It’s great that we’re soon to get another big component back and then we have another on in July, but the Stars deserved to win that one.”

(On the areas the Mercury had been outperformed …)

“Playing hard, simple. That shouldn’t be something you have to coach, you should come and play because every game in the WNBA is hard regardless of what their record is. That’s what I keep honing to my team, the Stars were very talented players. We didn’t compete. They out rebounded us. That’s scenario hasn’t been good without Brittney [Griner]. Obviously we’ll get better, but each individual has to make sure they’re ready to play and we just need to be a little tougher with what we do.”

(On Brittney Griner’s return…)

“It helps us big time. I think our shooting percentage will go up because she demands so much attention. She hasn’t played for a long time so we’re not going to put all of our eggs in one basket, but she just needs to come in and play her game. Everyone else need to get better. We’re very happy, obviously, to have her back because she fills up on a lot of weaknesses that we have at the moment.”

Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner

(On Mercury’s performance…)

“Credit to the Stars. They came out strong in the first quarter and you can’t let a team start off like that especially if they’re hungry and confident. We had a rough shooting night so credit to them.”

(On first quarter implications…)

“Credit the Stars defense for holding us to that, but we need to come out more focused. We were missing easy shots. You can’t start at somebody’s house at 17 percent shooting, that’s hard to come back from.”

(On Brittney Griner’s return …)

“She’s been working hard. She hasn’t sat out seven games doing absolutely nothing so she’ll be ready.”

By the Numbers

Points in the Paint: Mercury 24, Stars 34
Second Chance Points: Mercury 8, Stars 14
Fastbreak Points: Mercury 8, Stars 11
Biggest Lead: Mercury 6, Stars 10
Lead Changes: 9
Times Tied: 9

This post is part of the thread: 2015 WNBA Season – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


 

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