Pitchfork Press

Cronkite Summer Journalism Institute 2012

Injuries Lead To Slow Start For Championship Caliber Team

The Phoenix Mercury have started the 2012 WNBA season with a 2-5 record with loses coming at the hands of San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.

“We’re missing two of the top 10 players in the world,” said Head Coach of the Mercury, Corey Gaines. “When you’re missing 40 points, it’s kind of hard to replace 40 points. It’s an injury; they happen in sports and there is nothing you can really do,” said Coach Gaines.

Both Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor have been out due to injuries. Taurasi suffered a strained left hip flexor and is day-to-day. Taylor tore her left ACL and is out for the season. “It’s tough to replace two of the tops players in Diana and Taylor. It’s kind of a ‘double-whammy,’” said Gaines.

Gaines is entering his fifth season as the head coach for the Phoenix Mercury. Last year, he surpassed Cheryl Miller as the franchise coach with most wins.

In 2011, Taurasi averaged 21.6 points per game and Taylor averaged 16.7 per game. Their presence on the floor has not only affected the Mercury on offense, but as well as defense. Taylor averaged 1.7 steals and 3.9 defensive rebounds per game and Taurasi about 0.8 steals per game along with 3.2 defensive rebounds per game.

“It’s just a matter of practice. Really paying attention to the small things. The little things are what are keeping us from winning,” said Charde Houston, starting forward for the Phoenix Mercury. Houston is averaging 13 points per game this season and four rebounds per game.

“We are the reason why we are losing,” Houston concluded.

With Taylor out for the rest of the season, the Mercury hope to have Taursi back to help improve the season. With a 2-5 start, the Mercury have a long way to go before they can go back to the elite level they were at in 2007 and 2009, when they won the WNBA championship.

This Friday, June 15, 2012, the Mercury will take on the undefeated Minnesota Lynx, which they lost to 105 to 83 on May 20, 2012. Last time, Houston scored 24 points and went 5 out of 11 from the three-point line.

Charde Houston talking to the press

-Eduardo Mora

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