Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury are playing some of their best basketball in the final weeks of the regular season, most notably on the defensive side of the court.
The Mercury have returned from the Olympic break and won three straight games, holding their last two opponents to under 70 points. That could spell trouble for the offensively challenged Connecticut Sun on Friday night, when Phoenix visits Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Sun (10-17) are 10th in the WNBA in scoring, averaging 84.3 points per game. But, like the Mercury, Connecticut is playing well down the stretch. The Sun have won two of three since returning from the Olympic break, including an impressive 84-80 victory over the league-leading Minnesota Lynx.
Connecticut has moved into 10th place in the league standing and is just a game behind eighth-place Seattle for the final postseason spot. The Sun, however, will be shorthanded in the final seven games of the regular season.
Rookie forward Morgan Tuck, the third overall pick, will miss the rest of the season after injuring her knee in Sunday's win over the Atlanta Dream.
"I feel terrible for Morgan that she will not be able to complete her first WNBA season on the court," Sun coach Curt Miller said on the team's website. "She has a tremendous future with the Sun, and I am confident she will approach the rehabilitation process like the champion she is. I can't wait to have her back with us next year."
To help fill the void, Connecticut signed forward Asia Taylor, a 2014 draft pick of the Minnesota Lynx. The Sun will need all the help they can get in order to slow down the surging Mercury.
Taurasi, the fourth-leading scorer in the WNBA, and Brittney Griner have been fueling Phoenix's push up the league standings. The Mercury (13-14) sit in sixth place and could realistically finish as high as fourth. The top eight teams, regardless of conference, qualify for the postseason.
Griner had 20 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, three steals and three assists in the Mercury's win over Indiana on Tuesday.