Mercury All-Stars Ready To Shine In Minneapolis
By Patrick Ralph
When the selections for the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game were announced, three teams led the way with three picks. Two of the teams were the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx, the last two WNBA champions. The third was the Phoenix Mercury, the last team not named the Lynx or Sparks to win a WNBA title.
Along with three of its players representing the team in Minneapolis this weekend, head coach Sandy Brondello will be coaching one of the All-Star teams. However, unfortunately for Brondello, all three of her players will be on the opposing All-Star team on Saturday afternoon.
Representing Phoenix in the All-Star Game and playing on the same squad are Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner. Behind its three All-Stars, Phoenix sits at 15-11 and in fifth place in the WNBA at the All-Star break.
Griner, who will be making her fifth All-Star Game appearance for Phoenix, leads the team in both rebounds (7.4 per game) and blocks (2.8) this season. Griner is also second on the Mercury in both scoring (20.2 points per game) and field goal percentage (53.4 percent).
Griner leads the league in blocks this year, while her points and rebounding totals place her in the top 10. She ranks in the top five in the WNBA in total field goals made and two-point field goals made, while ranking in the top 10 in the league in field goal percentage, offensive win shares, defensive win shares and total win shares.
Meanwhile, Taurasi will be making her ninth appearance in the All-Star Game on behalf of the Mercury. Playing in her 14th season in the league, Taurasi leads the team once again in both points (20.3 per game) and assists (4.7). Both her points and assists per game averages rank in the top five in the league, while her three-point field goals made is tops in the WNBA.
She also ranks second on the team in three-point percentage this season (39.8 percent). Taurasi ranks in the top five in the league this season in true shooting percentage, offensive win shares, and total win shares. She also ranks in the top 10 of the WNBA in total field goals, three-point field goal percentage, player efficiency rating, effective field goal percentage and offensive rating.
While Griner and Taurasi were expected to be participants in All-Star weekend at the start of the season, not too many people expected Bonner to be joining them coming into this year. After missing last season due to child birth, Bonner has returned to the Mercury and fit in nicely alongside Griner and Taurasi as a third go-to option on offense.
Along with her ability to score, Bonner has brought outstanding defense and rebounding to Phoenix this year. As a result, the Mercury have arguably the strongest trio of stars in the WNBA.
Making her second All-Star game appearance in her career, Bonner leads the Mercury in both steals (1.2 per game) and two-point field goal percentage (55.7 percent). Her two-point field goal percentage puts her in the top 10 of the WNBA.
Bonner ranks second on the Mercury in both rebounds (6.2) and assists (3.3), and third in points (15.8).
With their entire star trio and head coach in the All-Star Game, Phoenix Mercury fans will have plenty of reasons to tune in and watch on Saturday.