DeWanna Bonner’s game-high 34 points help Mercury outlast Chicago 89-87 in overtime battle
In a rematch of the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury (10-7), defended their home court in an overtime contest against the Chicago Sky (11-7) Tuesday night, 89-87. The Mercury, led by a 34-point, eight-rebound effort from DeWanna Bonner, outscored the Sky 11-9 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd of 10,707. With the win, the Mercury snapped a two-game losing streak.
The Sky led 44-31 at the half. However, Phoenix held Chicago scoreless for the first five minutes of the third quarter. Bonner dominated, scoring 16 of her points in the third. The Mercury outscored Chicago 24-14 in the third stanza.
The Mercury continued their second half onslaught and went on a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter. But, Sky leading scorer Elena Delle Donne was clutch in the fourth and kept her team in a back-and-forth contest with the Mercury. She scored with 4.6 seconds left in regulation and was fouled. After Delle Donne made her free throw, Bonner upped the ante on the late-game the heroics, drew a foul and made two free throws to send the game into overtime tied at 78.
The overtime period also featured back-and-forth action until Bonner hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:21 remaining.
Other Mercury players in double figures include Brittney Griner (14points, 8 rebounds, five blocks), Monique Currie (11 points, 5 rebounds), Candice Dupree (11 points).
Delle Donne finished with 32 points plus four rebounds to lead Chicago. Other Fever players in double figures include Allie Quigley (14 points) and Cappie Pondexter (13 points, 7 rebounds). Newly acquired center Erika de Souza, playing in her first game for Chicago, finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Phoenix heads to Tulsa for a road game on Thursday. The Sky return home to host Los Angeles on Friday.
- Phoenix tied their greatest comeback in team history. The Mercury trailed by 19 points on June 22, 1999 at Washington and came back to win 79-76. Chicago led by 19 points, 42-23, at the 2:45 mark of the second quarter.
- The Mercury are averaging 11.88 turnovers per game, the fewest in the WNBA. Phoenix is on pace to set a WNBA record for fewest turnovers per game in a season, topping the 2013 Minnesota Lynx team that averaged 12.12 turnovers per game (412 turnovers/34 games).
- Tonight was the third overtime game for the Mercury this season (2-1) and also the third for the Sky (2-1). The three overtimes this season are the most in a season for the Mercury since the 2011 campaign.
- Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner scored 16 points in the third quarter, going 6-7 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line, the most points from a Mercury player in a quarter this season.
- Mercury center Brittney Griner entered tonight’s game the leading shot blocker in the WNBA and finished with five. Griner has 17 career games with five or more blocked shots.
- Chicago forward Elena Delle Donne leads the league in scoring average with 24.9 points per game and is second in free throw percentage, shooting 95.6-percent (130-of-136). Delle Donne shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the line during the game.
- Delle Donne finished tonight’s game with 32 points, her fourth game with 30 or more points this season. She scored zero points in the third quarter and came back to score 12 in the fourth.
Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello
(On the big win tonight…)
“It was a hard fought game. Was it our best game? No. Our first twenty minutes were very average. We just didn’t execute, we didn’t have any toughness but in the second half, it shows the character of this team. I thought our defense went on another level. (Elena) Delle Donne still scored 32—she’s an amazing offensive player but we really dug deep and made it hard for them and we competed. On the other end we kept it a real simple game—we just wanted to run and attack. It took a little overtime but we got there and the result is what we wanted.
(On what was said at halftime…)
“I just didn’t think we were playing hard enough really. It’s not that we weren’t having the effort; we didn’t have the execution and that really hurt us in the schemes that we did. Let’s just be aggressive, DB (DeWanna Bonner) staying up and in, and just taking pride in your one-on-one defense. I thought Monique Currie had her best defensive effort tonight. We started blocking out—it’s just been Achilles heels—we preach it and talk about it but tonight was one of the first nights I actually saw everyone physically blocking out so we can go get the boards and get out and run.”
Phoenix Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner
(On DeWanna’s thoughts during the final moments of overtime…)
“I just wanted to win. We came out pretty sluggish (tonight)—we got down by a lot and we weren’t playing our game. I just wanted to be aggressive (at the end)—tried to get things going. That’s what they preach to me so that was what I was trying to do.
(On what it was like defending Elena Delle Donne…)
“She’s good. She has a great shot so it’s kind of hard to block it and when you try you kind of hit her on the arm a couple of times. She’s a great player and fortunately everybody played defense on her and did a great job.”
Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner
(On difficulty getting rebounds on the first half…)
“Definitely coach brought that to our attention—just our rebounding and how much they were out rebounding us. We needed to go in and take away those second chance points they were getting.
(On getting a win after two losses…)
“We went into All Star break with two losses. So we definitely wanted to get a win and we’re going on a two game road trip for five days away so we definitely want to win on the road—that’ll be big for the playoffs.”
Chicago Sky head coach and general manager Pokey Chatman
(Her first impressions after the close loss…)
“I thought we created some momentum for ourselves and then coming out of the half, we struggled for about five and a half minutes to put points on the board. I thought we did a decent job on getting that back because in the last four minutes of that quarter, we actually scored 14 points to kind of even things up. But with a team like Phoenix, we let them get momentum in areas that they didn’t previously like in some transition baskets, points in the paint, their key players, I can Candice (Dupree) hitting a couple in a row, Bonner with her threes. You can’t do that any team let alone the defending champs at home. We are just hungry for a win.”
(On what the Mercury did differently to spur their comeback in the second half…)
“I never like to not give the other team credit, but when I went back just now and watched the shots we got in the third quarter, I’ll take those shots. A couple of wide open shots from the Elena (Delle Done) that she had in the first and second quarter, Cappie (Pondexter) had a couple of good looks off of the switch, (Courtney Vandersloot) Sloot…I don’t think they did a lot differently because they trust and believe in their system of play. I just thought we didn’t knock some key shots down and there were a few there that were Griner, like three of them that she altered the shot. We felt good about how we were moving the basketball, that’s why we had 44 points in the first half. We did the same things to get the same looks, those shots didn’t fall.”
(On the potential of this game being a WNBA Finals preview…)
“This is a credit to Phoenix, the organization, their fans…it can be a preseason game and that will be the atmosphere. I say that as a compliment. For us and all of the other WNBA teams, this is 18th game so nobody can think Finals. We’re all so bunched up but it’s nice that you guys talk about that and it’s respectful to both franchises.”
Chicago Sky’s Elena Delle Donne
(On the importance of a team moving on after a tough loss…)
“It’s huge, obviously a really tough loss, I felt like that third quarter we just went really cold for a while. We were able to kind of get the momentum back, but at home of a great team like that and with great players stepping up and going off you can’t let them back in.”
(On the Sky’s resiliency to mount their own comeback after Phoenix made a run…)
“This team has great character and it’s a gritty team to be able to come back like that. With this incredible crowd, it’s really good to know it’s something we can build on. Obviously we’re upset we didn’t get the win, but it’s something to build on.”
(On the back and forth battle between herself and DeWanna Bonner…)
“It was just an offensive kind of night for the both of us. She was absolutely on fire. It felt like anything she was putting up, it was going in and I was just trying to attack on the other end.”
Chicago Sky Guard Allie Quigley
(On whether the Mercury’s defense changed in the second half…)
“Not really, no. I think we just weren’t playing the same. We were getting stops in the first half and our transition was good, we were moving the ball and then we just got away from that and settle for jump shots.