Offensive struggles plague Stars in road loss to Mercury

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Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images.

PHOENIX – The San Antonio Stars struggled offensively as they suffered a 81-64 defeat to the Phoenix Mercury in front of 10,108 fans at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The loss for the Stars is their third straight and third in their last four games. San Antonio has lost eight straight to Phoenix and all three games in the 2017 season series. Their last win against the Mercury came back in 2015.

San Antonio struggled early, falling behind 22-8 in the first quarter and shot just 23 percent in the opening ten minutes. The Mercury took the lead for good by using an 18-2 run, capped off by a Monique Currie three-pointer, leaving no hope of who would come out on top.

“We didn’t move the ball well,” Stars guard Kelsey Plum said. “We played very one on one. It was a tough night.”

The Stars had a season-low six assists to Phoenix’s 20. San Antonio committed 21 turnovers which turned into 11 Phoenix points. All the makings of a young Stars squad growing against a well oiled machine like the Mercury – it was no contest.

“We relaxed because Britney (Griner) wasn’t out there,” Stars head coach Vickie Johnson said. “We allowed Robinson to come off the bench, we allowed Curry to play well. Their bench scored 39.”

The Stars were led by Shay Murphy’s season-high 14 points. Kayla McBride added 13 and Dearica Hamby chipped in 11 in her second consecutive start for Erika DeSouza. Isabelle Harrison finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

San Antonio fought back in the fourth quarter after McBride hit back-to-back three pointers to cut the deficit to 75-61 with just under three minutes to go. However, that was as far as the Silver and Black would get.

Moriah Jefferson was a late scratch for San Antonio with right knee soreness. Plum started in her place, scoring nine points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Monique Currie had 20 points against her former team to lead the Mercury. Currie was 4-of-7 from three point range and shot 50 percent from the field. Diana Taurasi added 13 points and six rebounds for Phoenix (13-10), who sits fifth in the WNBA standings.

Danielle Robinson added 10 points against her former team in the win.

“Currie is a scorer and that’s what we need from her and that is why we brought her back here,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. “That’s why we wanted her, we need more scoring power and she is capable of that.”

  • Game notes: Kayla McBride’s 13 points was the 18th time the guard has scored in double figures this season out of 20 games. San Antonio had a season-high 43 rebounds in the loss. The Stars had 41 rebounds in two previous games this season.

Up next: The Stars are now 3-21 on the season and will return home to open up a three-game homestand beginning on Tuesday against the New York Liberty at the AT&T Center at 7 p.m.

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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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