A day after losing a fourth quarter lead as they were knocked out in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury players addressed what was wrong after deciding not to speak to the media immediately. after Sunday’s result.
“We were so good at the end of the games that we thought we were going to take him out because that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Phoenix goalkeeper Diana Taurasi said on Monday of the 80-74 loss to the Chicago Sky, which barred a Game 5 returns to Phoenix on Tuesday. “And it didn’t work that way. I think at one point the five of us missed a layup.
“So the magic slipped away pretty quickly and reality hit, and we were a pretty devastated team. “
Taurasi spoke to the team without speaking to the media on Sunday, saying they “just had to take a minute.” Asked about a damaged Mercury locker room door at Wintrust Arena after the game, Taurasi said: “There were a lot of doors in there. “
Taurasi, 39, reiterated what she said on Saturday about taking time over the next few months to decide whether she would return for an 18th WNBA season in 2022. She was limited to 16 regular season games this year in due to injuries to the breastbone, ankle and foot. .
“I’m probably the only person in WNBA history to have had a fractured breastbone,” Taurasi said. “I haven’t rolled an ankle since high school. So that’s a bit of everything, right? Bad luck, age, wear and tear. So we’ll see where I go from now on. on the pitch, off the pitch, it’s been a hell of a battle. “
Taurasi was hoping 2021 could bring his fourth WNBA title, but still thought it was one of his best experiences.
“I’m as proud to be on this team as I am on these championship teams,” she said. “I’ve never seen a team really fight so hard. And I have obviously been part of a lot of good teams. I’ve been on some OK teams, but that team had courage that was just amazing. I really enjoyed this. “
Fellow guard Skylar Diggins-Smith said of the championship failure: “It hurts like hell. It only motivates me. I thought the camaraderie of this group was unmatched compared to teams I’ve been on in the past. We had winners in this team. “
Diggins-Smith said it meant a lot to her to win a gold medal at the Olympics this year in terms of confidence for the future.
“It was the dream of my life,” said Diggins-Smith. “Even though I didn’t play a lot, I learned a lot from that experience and it really motivated me to come back to the WNBA to really make an effort with this team.
“This year has been a big part of my maturing process and my journey in this league. I really took the leap and got a taste of what it’s like to do a deep playoff run. “
Taurasi, Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner were all Olympians, and Griner was also an MVP candidate this season. She had 28 points leading the Mercury in Game 4 and averaged 21.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in the playoffs.
Griner, who turned 31 on Monday, will play for UMMC Yekaterinburg in Russia during the WNBA offseason, and plans to come back even better for 2022. One of his personal goals is to win the WNBA MVP award. in his career.
“It means I’m really shooting all cylinders,” said Griner, who added that she would also like to add to the two Defensive Player of the Year awards she already has.
“This is an area where I criticize myself. It’s a place where I can definitely improve myself. As far as my role as a leader, just use my voice a little more. I feel like this year I was definitely the most I’ve ever been. So do more and stay cool in the field. ”