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Slumping Mercury aim to halt slide vs. Dream

Apr 21, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi works out during training camp at Verizon 5G Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Cheryl Evans/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK
Credit: The Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Phoenix Mercury and Atlanta Dream are looking to get back on track Sunday afternoon when they meet in College Park, Ga.

The Mercury (2-5) have lost their past four games, while the Dream (4-3) have dropped two in a row after jumping out to their best start since 2017.

Phoenix is coming off a 99-94 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday.

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored a season-best 28 points on Wednesday and has reached double figures in all five games in which she’s played this season. She returned from a two-game absence due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Diamond DeShields added 17 points and a career high-tying nine assists for Phoenix, which is seeking its first road win since posting a 69-64 victory over the Seattle Storm on May 14.

“We’ve had some moments where we’ve felt pretty close to where we want to be and we have some moments where we realize what we still have to work on. The challenges we’ll get on the road will be a good test for us,” DeShields told the Arizona Republic.

For the Dream, this game is an opportunity to get back to their winning ways.

Atlanta, which is halfway to its win total from a season ago, is coming off a 70-50 road loss to the Washington Mystics on Tuesday. The 50 points were the fewest of the season for the Dream.

Aari McDonald was the lone member of Atlanta to finish with double-digit scoring (10).

Rhyne Howard, the top overall pick in last month’s draft, missed all nine shots from the floor Tuesday en route to being held scoreless for the first time all season.

Howard, who has scored 20 or more points on three occasions this season, said last week that she felt she has settled in quickly in the WNBA.

“I’m not surprised and I feel great,” Howard told the Atlanta Journal Constitution when asked about her early-season success. “There’s no reason to be surprised.”

Sunday’s contest marks the start of a four-game homestand for the Dream.

–Field Level Media