Surging teams collide as Mercury face Sky

National Sports

The Chicago Sky and the Phoenix Mercury are both on a roll going into their matchup Tuesday night in Phoenix.

The Mercury have won six games in a row, including an 80-64 victory at New York on Friday despite the absence of star center Brittney Griner, who was sidelined by a sprained ankle. They haven’t lost since returning from the Olympic break.

Griner might miss Tuesday’s game as well.

“She’s a big loss for us,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “We play a little different without Griner. The ball doesn’t go inside, so we had to change it up.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith, who on Monday was named Western Conference Player of the Week, scored 27 points, and Diana Taurasi added 19 for the Mercury (15-10).

“We knew they were going to bring the pressure (in Griner’s absence),” Diggins-Smith said. “We all knew we had to step up and do a little more.”

Phoenix scored the final 10 points of the first quarter to take a 10-point lead. The Mercury fell behind for the first time in the game briefly late in the third quarter before rallying.

The Sky have won their past three games, the most recent being a resounding 107-75 victory over the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm on Sunday.

Chicago (14-12) completed a three-game season sweep of the Storm, with all of the victories coming in a 15-day span.

The Sky made 15 of 22 3-point attempts and shot 56.2 percent from the floor in reaching a season-high point total and handing Seattle just its second double-digit loss of the season.

“We’re still in the middle of the pack in the standings,” said Candace Parker, who led the Sky with 25 points and nine rebounds. “I think the key is to stay even-keeled. I like our chances, and I said that when we were winning.

“If we can figure it out, I like our chances. With that being said, we’re able to beat anybody, but we’re also able to lose to anybody. So until we fix that, we’ve got to continue to grind it out.”

–Field Level Media

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