Morning Meltdown – Phoenix Mercury Edition

For this Morning Meltdown let’s take a look into the buzz (still!!) surrounding the Phoenix Mercury!

Three players from each of the top two teams in the WNBA this year — league champion Phoenix and Minnesota — are on the U.S. team.

“Griner is probably the player observers are most eager to watch, as it’s her first major event with USA Basketball. She’s coming off a WNBA season in which she became the league’s most imposing defensive presence inside, and it’s at that end of the court the Americans most need her.

That’s not to downplay at all the offensive skills brought by Griner, who averaged 15.6 points this season for the Mercury. It’s just that she has proven to be a quick study at the pro level in terms of how best to use her advantages defensively. She blocked a league-record 129 shots this season.

Perennial defensive star Tamika Catchings and fellow experienced international players Sylvia Fowles and Candace Parker are missing this tournament with injuries, making Griner all the more valuable.

“I think my role will be blocking shots, playing defense, and protecting the paint,” she said. “I’m happy with that, because I love defense.”

Griner suffered an eye injury in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals, missed the clinching third game, and just joined the U.S. squad in Istanbul. She practiced with the team for the first time Thursday.”

To read more of this preview, click here.

It was a month ago Sunday — Aug. 31 in Minneapolis — that we had the best game of the entire WNBA postseason: An 82-77 Lynx win that displayed the superstars on both teams and showed a national audience the WNBA at its finest.

“The Americans’ 94-74 victory essentially guarantees them a flawless record in Group D play, as they go against far-overmatched Angola in the third game Tuesday (ESPN3, 2:30 p.m. ET). The toughest test in group play was expected to be Serbia, and that proved to be the case. It took until the fourth quarter for the U.S. team to put away the win, and it was the Mercury-Lynx combination that led the way in preventing the upset.

Taurasi led Team USA in scoring with 20 points, and Moore added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Griner had 10 and 10. Whalen and Augustus each had eight points.

“It was a tough game,” Taurasi said. “Every possession was a battle. They made us work on defense. There are some things we probably got to clean up. These games are good for us.”

To read more from team USA’s latest game, click here.

For all of the latest Phoenix Mercury news, stick with us at Heat Waved and check back daily to read more about your favorite Arizona teams. 

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