Stars show signs of improvement in home opener loss to Phoenix

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Highlights:

AT&T Center – The San Antonio Stars stepped onto their home floor for the first time in the 2017 season, still missing their top two players. However, despite that – they showed their fans what is in store to come once they have their complete team.

Isabelle Harrison scored a career-high 16 points, but it was not enough as the Stars fell short 78-72 to the Phoenix Mercury in front of 6,400 fans at the AT&T Center on Friday night in their home opener.

Kayla McBride added 14 points for San Antonio in her season debut, just 24 hours after returning to the Alamo City from Turkey. McBride was the only other Stars player in double figures.

“It was a good feeling to be on the court tonight,” said McBride. “I was really happy to be back in San Antonio. I haven’t played here since July, everybody knows I was injured. So, I was excited to put that uniform on, it didn’t really matter how tired I was, I was happy to be out there with my teammates.”

Despite the loss, San Antonio still showed signs of improvement. The Stars opened the third quarter 10-2 run to cut the Phoenix lead to just two points. San Antonio held Phoenix to just over 34 percent shooting, but little mistakes would be their downfall.

We fouled too much. We gave up 34 free throws. We can’t win like that,” Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. “They are a great free throw shooting team. They made 28 points on free throws. We missed eight free throws, we make those and we win the game by two points.”

The game was the third straight without Moriah Jefferson and Kelsey Plum, who sat out with injuries. Johnson hinted she may have a full team sooner rather than later.

“I’ll be excited to see our team next week against Dallas,” she said. “I think you guys will see the real Stars in action. They [Plum and Jefferson] are close.”

The Mercury were led by Brittney Griner’s 20 points and 10 rebounds. Diana Taurasi added 17 for Phoenix (2-1), who got over .500 early in the season with the win.

Former Stars guard Danielle Robinson scored 12 points in her first game against her former team since being traded in the offseason.

“We shot the ball extremely well in that first half and that helped, about 50 percent, then we must have shot 18 percent in the second half, but we got to the free throw line,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said.

Up next: The Stars are now 0-3 on the season and will return to the court on Thursday when they welcome the Dallas Wings to the AT&T Center at 11 a.m. for their first school day game of the season.

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Stephen Anderson is a writer and editor for the Project Spurs Network. He joined the PS team back in 2014 as a staff writer with Project Spurs and has taken over as editor for network sites Stars Hoops, Rampage Central, and Red Black 90. Stephen graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word in 2017 with a degree in Communications Arts, specializing in Journalism and Public Relations. He is a credentialed media member for the San Antonio Stars, Rampage, and San Antonio FC.

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