Game one of the WNBA season for the Phoenix Mercury has concluded, and the result was one that was highly anticipated.
The core unit of the Los Angeles Sparks flexed their muscles in the second half and went on a 30-7 run for the 3rd period and the Mercury were left to figure out why they were one or two steps behind. Mercury fall to the Sparks 99-76 in a game that looked like a tail of two games.
Forward’s Candise Parker and Nneka Ogwumike lead the way combining for 34 points and 14 rebounds and stifled center Britney Griner to a 4 of 10 shooting performance with 8 points and and 6 rebounds and was a -8 on the floor.
This type of performance was anticipated by most of the media and after the game coach Sandy Brondello and a few players spoke about it being something they did in fact expect.
The main topic of conversation throughout the press availability was that the teams was going through that trying to figure each other out during the game and team continuity was an issue throughout the second half.
Guard Diane Taurasi spoke after the game and was asked if fatigue was a factor in their lack of execution:
This may be the normal for a while going forward for the Mercury, for it takes an unknown time frame for a team with new key pieces to gel together.
This is even more critical in this shortened season of 22 games, and could very well bleed into next year, and that could be the time they actually become a well oiled machine.
We have seen this countless times with newly constructed teams and its just part of the process of becoming a better unit, and usually takes a lot of growing pains before it yields fruit.
This season has 500 record written all over it but the talent in the room could very well be good enough to over come the obstacles of chemistry later in the season.
High expectation can be fools gold and the mind can tell you one thing but reality smacks you in the face with another, so realistically this team will have to go through the process of cultivating the pieces they have together and at the same time stay positive through the struggle.