Riding their longest winning streak of the season, the Phoenix Mercury might be getting even stronger.
WNBA superstar Diana Taurasi could possibly be set for her 2019 debut with the Mercury, who'll look for a fourth consecutive victory Friday night against a visiting New York Liberty club that's also won three in a row.
Following a rather rough start, Phoenix (5-5) has turned things around and is in position to move above .500 for the first time in 2019. Adding to the good times in the desert, ESPN reported this week that Taurasi (back) has been cleared to fully participate on the court and could be available as early as Friday.
Last weekend, Taurasi told azcentral.com: "New York is the day we're all thinking. It's one of those things where I'm right there. I'm literally in my training camp still. I'm six weeks behind these guys who have been working so hard.
"I just want to make sure when I'm on the court, I'm at their level."
Taurasi is the WNBA's all-time leading scorer with 8,549 points, but after struggling for nearly the first month of the season, the Mercury have upped their game without their star on the floor. DeWanna Bonner (20.2 points per game) and Brittney Griner (17.4 ppg) have done well carrying the scoring load, and each posted 20 points in Sunday's 69-67 victory at Seattle.
Phoenix shot just 39.7 percent but committed only six turnovers and used a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to hand the Storm their first home defeat.
The Mercury now will aim for a more complete effort against New York (6-7), which also is playing its best basketball of the season. The Liberty look to complete a perfect three-game road stretch after winning 84-83 at Seattle on Wednesday.
Tina Charles scored 26 points and Kia Nurse added 24 as the Liberty overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to outscore the Storm 24-13 in the final quarter. New York, which opened the fourth on a 10-0 run, shot 49.3 percent for the contest.
Charles, who is nearing 3,000 rebounds for her career, has totaled 50 points in the last two games. Nurse, meanwhile, got back on track Wednesday while surpassing the 500-career point mark after combining for 23 points in the previous two contests.
New York has lost four in a row versus Phoenix, which will be trying for a third consecutive home victory.