Opening night of the 2022 season for the Phoenix Mercury, coming into a new season coming off the Finals appearance and coming up short to Chicago.
Changes have been made to the roster in both addition and subtraction, including three players that are not available for the start of the season.
The Mercury came into the night shorthanded and the Las Vegas Aces jump all over them early and often.
Phoenix had no answer for the Aces’ frontcourt earlier and in the first half, taking a 54-point half and holding the Mercury to only 32.
Dearica Hamby led the Aces with 24 points and seven assists and was also a plus 24 on the court.
Las Vegas kept star guard Diana Taurasi scoreless at the half, and she finished with a low 9 points and 9 assists and didn’t allow her to take over the game.
New front-court player Tina Charles made her Mercury debut and it didn’t go as well as she may have wanted, she added 15 points but only 3 rebounds.
Coach of the Aces Becky Hammond had her team ready to take advantage of the shorthanded Mercury all night, and never allowed them to get into the game.
After a 22 point lead at the half the Mercury got a little run which was led but Sophie Cunningham, making a three from the corner and driving lay-up and missed a three that would have brought the lead down to 15 but the Aces answered that run with an 8-0 run and kept them at bay.
Final score 106-88 and the Phoenix Mercury are going to have to find ways to generate energy being shorthanded, especially on their own home floor. Mercury was led by guard Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 25 points, but she needed more help.
Center Britney Grinner may not be part of this team for a while, and getting back two other key players from overseas will help but playing without the star center is not going to make this team the team that can compete for a chance at a ring.