As the Phoenix Mercury were putting the finishing touches on their most recent win, Brittney Griner jumped to defend a shot, and seconds later, she was on the floor holding her ankle.
The Mercury are optimistic Griner’s left ankle injury is not a serious one, and they are hoping their star center can take the floor Friday night when they visit the New York Liberty and attempt to get their sixth straight win.
Phoenix (14-10) played the Liberty on Wednesday night, too, and took control in a 106-79 win over New York. The Mercury led by as many as 25 in the third quarter and then scored the final 17 points after New York cut the deficit to 10 points with about 4 1/2 minutes left.
During that closing run, Griner went to contest a shot by New York’s DiDi Richards and got tangled up, resulting in the ankle injury that initially appeared to be serious. But coach Sandy Brondello said “fingers crossed that she will be OK.”
Before Griner’s injury, she was putting the finishing touches on a stellar showing of 26 points and nine rebounds. She shot 11 of 17 from the field and also dunked for the third time this season.
Griner’s performance was merely Phoenix’s second-best of its latest win. Skylar Diggins-Smith added 27 on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor while Diana Taurasi chipped in 21 and nine assists.
“I just think we’re just building a really good momentum,” Brondello said. “We’re building the trust that you need to be successful at both ends of the floor. I think we’re being unselfish and moving the ball.”
New York (11-15) has dropped three straight and is 1-4 since the break for the Tokyo Olympics. Three of those defeats are by double digits.
“We’re beyond the point of this being about adjustments,” Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said. “We didn’t do anything that we’ve worked on all year. They need to show up and care and try and want it more than the other team.”
The Liberty followed up a three-point home loss to the Los Angeles Sparks by allowing at least 100 points for the fourth time this season on Wednesday night, including 35 in the first quarter.
–Field Level Media