Diana Taurasi will not be citing Fatigue after Phoenix Mercury misplaced Recreation 1 of the WNBA Finals to Chicago Sky
8:51 p.m. ET
- Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, womens college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began reporting on women’s basketball in 1984 and has been with ESPN since 1996.
PHOENIX – Guard Diana Taurasi had every reason to say she suffered from fatigue following the Phoenix Mercury’s 91-77 loss to the Chicago Sky in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday. After all, the Mercury ended a tough five-game semifinal series in Las Vegas on Friday night, followed by the birth of Taurasi and Mrs. Penny Taylor’s daughter on Saturday at 4:34 a.m. here in Phoenix.
But Taurasi cited no fatigue in explaining their sixth sales of the season.
“I was pretty pathetic in basketball today. It’s up to me,” said Taurasi. “We can’t turn the ball around like that, especially not in the final. It’s just that I’m a bad basketball player. We’re going to adjust some things and hopefully we’re in a better position to get out of these traps.”
Taurasi had 17 points and three rebounds, but Phoenix’s 18 balls were a problem, especially with an offense as good as Chicago’s. Six Sky players scored double digits, led by Kahleah Copper with 21 points.
Chicago won their semi-final series 3-1 against Connecticut, leaving the Skies one game fewer than the Mercury and looking like the fresher teams on Sunday. The Mercury got off to a good start, leading by 25:20 after the first quarter, but were outdone in the second quarter by 26:10.
“We’re not tired. We’re just getting kicked in the ass,” said ESPN’s Taurasi Ros Gold-Onwude during the game.
But as the parent of a newborn and a three-year-old, Taurasi knows that the more tired a child becomes, the more a child will insist: “I’m not tired!”
Mercury manager Sandy Brondello said her team was clearly dealing with fatigue, but also a really good Sky team. Chicago went 16:16 during the regular season, but that wasn’t as Sky fans saw in the playoffs where they are now 6-1.
Taurasi, 39, is aiming for her fourth WNBA title and first since Phoenix defeated Chicago in the 2014 final. Injuries limited her to 16 of the Mercury’s 32 regular season games, and she missed the first-round playoff game against New York.
But she has also shown some great performances, including 37 points in a semi-final win in Game 2 over Las Vegas and 24 in the “baby game” win that earned the series against the Aces. Now Mercury needs to rest and figure out how best to avoid this Wednesday from happening again.
Here, too, “rest” is a key word.
“Yes, the last two days have been pretty eventful,” said Taurasi. “I’m just really proud of this group. What we did in Vegas was no easy task. And then of course to fly home and get the best victory ever: a healthy daughter and a healthy wife.
“But other than that, I just focus on what’s next. We know we have to play better. We know we have to be better individually and collectively. We’re a really, really good team.”