Mercury-Silver Stars Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- The Phoenix Mercury have lost by an average of 19.0 points without Diana Taurasi, and it doesn't appear as if the superstar will be joining her team anytime soon.
Taurasi likely won't be on the court Friday night when the Mercury visit the San Antonio Silver Stars.
Phoenix (1-3) opened its two-game road swing with an 81-65 loss at Atlanta on Thursday, as it played without the league's defending scoring champion and 2009 MVP for the second time this season. Taurasi, who is out indefinitely with a strained left hip flexor, did not travel with the team.
Mercury coach Corey Gaines said losing Taurasi was like an NBA team losing Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan or LeBron James. He also said has "no idea" when Taurasi can return.
"Well, you know I think Diana is one of the top players in the world," Gaines said. "Let's put her in the top five."
The Mercury were also routed without Taurasi in their season opener May 20, losing 105-83 at Minnesota. DeWanna Bonner has scored 22 points in each of the games Taurasi has been out.
San Antonio (1-2) likely won't have much sympathy after falling 77-63 in its home opener to Chicago on Wednesday. Becky Hammon made 8 of 11 shots from the field and finished with a team-high 21 points, but the rest of the Silver Stars combined to shoot 31.5 percent.
"I think they had a good defensive plan but we just struggled," said guard Jia Perkins, who shot 3 of 11 and finished with eight points. "It was one of them nights we couldn't hit a shot so it's frustrating but the good thing is we have a game Friday so hopefully we can redeem ourselves."
Shameka Christon also had a miserable night, missing all seven of her field-goal attempts - six of them 3-pointers - after averaging 15.0 points in her first two games with San Antonio.
Three-time All-Star forward Sophia Young vowed to show improvement after turning in her second straight nine-point performance.
"We didn't get to the line very much (Wednesday)," Young said. "I only got to the line one time and that's something that I have to pick up. I think I'm going to take responsibility for this game tonight for my team because I don't think I was aggressive."
Hammon leads the league with 7.3 assists per game, but had a season-low five to go with a season-worst six turnovers against the Sky.
"I think we've just got to get more movement," Perkins said. "We don't want to make excuses but we just have to learn each other and learn from this."
San Antonio won three of five meetings with Phoenix last season.
Updated May 31, 2012