Mercury's whining is a bit too much
Vegas would have made it a pick 'em Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena as to the bigger disgrace:
The conduct of the Phoenix Mercury players, who acted as though bitten by a forest animal at the very whisper of contact … or the officials who were dumb enough to fall for it.
Surely, the Mercury and their absurd level of talent feel entitled to every whistle, evidenced by their two technical fouls and incessant whining that turned the Sun's best win in the Anne Donovan era into great and unwatchable at the same time.
It was riveting theater at times, the 96-95 victory, which featured a Diana Taurasi-Katie Douglas standoff on the final possession. And it was a tractor pull, too, what with 28 fouls called in the second half. Mad props and bon mots to the Sun who overcame only everything.
But the league really ought to send Phoenix a memo.
This is the not the conduct to be expected from one of the league's marquee teams.
Is this how the WNBA wants to be known? The Women's National Bitching Association?
And then the league ought to monitor how Phoenix's games are officiated. It was borderline hilarious that Phoenix, after committing more fouls than the Sun in the first half, was in the bonus with 7:40 left in the third period and 7:32 left in the fourth.
"Diana, in particular, came out in the third quarter determined to get into the bonus and she did it in two minutes," Donovan said. "There's got to be a way to officiate that kind of aggressive offensive play."
There is. Stop falling for it. And when she complains, 'T' her up and throw her out. Her act has passed go.
I know we all love Diana. But it appears Diana is in love with her persona. I'm Diana and I can do anything I want. Au contraire. This league is full of plenty of other stars now.
Taurasi, booed at times Thursday night by Sun fans, earned a technical for woofing at Douglas early in the fourth period. Douglas, who has a puckish sense of humor, can be a bit of a silent assassin. She was asked if she baited Taurasi into the technical.
"You know me better than that," Douglas said with a wry grin. "I was just trying to play basketball. She felt like I was doing, I don't know, you'd have to ask her. I was just kind of standing there trying to make sure myself and the rest of our team was keeping our composure. We've got to do a better job of not fouling so early. I'm sure she was getting frustrated because she wasn't getting calls. We were frustrated because we weren't getting calls."
Douglas issued another missive in the moments after Taurasi's technical. She made a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine of the Sun's last 11 points. She was also guarding Taurasi in the final sequence: Sun up one, closing seconds.
"The best look she didn't get was at the end," Douglas said.
The Sun needed Renee Montgomery's halfcourt shot at the first-half buzzer (Montgomery also got hammered and it wasn't called) and Alex Bentley's 3-pointer that beat the third-quarter horn to win by one. A terrific win over the league's most talented - and nauseating - team.
Score this one for the team that chose to shut up and play. That old thing. I've been critical of Donovan in the past for not getting excited enough sometimes. Turns out her calmer-than-a-lagoon demeanor was perfect on this night. The Sun didn't panic and despite being called for 18 fouls in the second half (to Phoenix's 10) figured out a way.
"We are taking steps in the right direction," Donovan said.
With their mouths closed.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.