Big Three Dominant as Mercury Set Fire to Sky

Candace Dupree, Brittney Griner, and Diana Taurasi combined for 57 points in the 21-point win

Gino Valdez, Reporter

The Phoenix Mercury took care of business on Sunday afternoon, and now stand just two wins from the ultimate glory.

The “Big Three” of Dupree, Griner, and Taurasi ruled in the Mercury’s 83-62 win over the helpless Chicago Sky, who made the WNBA Finals despite a losing record. The Mercury now have gone 102 days without a home loss, and lead the best-of-five Finals one game to none.

Griner blocked a whopping five Sky shots in the first quarter alone, which set an WNBA record for blocks in a quarter. She got the Mercury off on the right foot with her defensive acumen, as the team allowed only eight points in the first quarter. Griner finished with eight blocks for the game.

“Coming out with the intensity we had, everybody coming out was hyped to play,” she said after the game.

Dupree shot 13-for-17 and scored 26 points, 18 in the first half. Her hot second quarter, in which she made all nine shots she attempted, sparked a 25-8 run and contributed greatly to the 42-20 lead the Mercury enjoyed at half. The Mercury’s lead swelled to 30 early in the second half, and at that point there was no looking back. But post-game, in spite of the dominant win, Dupree focused on some issues with rebounding the basketball.

“The big thing is we just have to really stay focused and eliminate so many offensive rebounds,” she explained.

Taurasi finished converted eight of her 13 shots, good for 19 points. She also dished out a game-high 11 assists for the Mercury. The team shot a sizzling 59 percent from the floor and held Chicago to a dismal 32 percent shooting. Taurasi’s great game thrilled season-ticket holder Arleen Ledezma in particular.

“I think the team looks great,” she said.

“My favorite player is Diana Taurasi and she played like a leader.”

Ledezma lives in Tucson and made the long trek to U.S. Airways Center for Game One. Needless to say, she did not leave disappointed.

Head coach Sandy Brondello was also pleased with the win. She said that the effort and focus were there for the Mercury on Sunday. But she made clear that it is not a one-game series, and the team can’t afford to look too far ahead.

The job is now one-third done for the Mercury. They must win twice more, including once in Chicago later this week, to clinch another WNBA championship. Game Two will take place Tuesday night in Phoenix.