In hopes of rebounding from an 89-56 loss to the Connecticut Sun, the San Antonio Stars take on the Phoenix Mercury. With an 8-6 record, Phoenix has experienced a solid start to the season. The Stars have been unable to sustain any momentum this year, and continue to struggle. These two teams played May 19 with the Mercury coming away with a 78-72 win. Here are three things to watch.
Who will step up in Moriah Jefferson’s absence?
Moriah Jefferson suffered a head contusion against the Sun, and will not see the floor against the Mercury. Jefferson is by far the most skilled point guard on the roster, and having her out creates a major challenge.
Rookie Kelsey Plum could get the start, but she has struggled to get into a rhythm so far this season. In 13 games, she is averaging 4.2 points, 1.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 14.9 minutes. She is also shooting 27 percent from the floor, and 26 percent from behind the arch. Plum has shown some improvements in some areas, but still has a while before she’s ready to take on major minutes.
Another alternative is to start Sydney Colson. Colson has been used sparingly this season, but saw her most minutes of the season when Jefferson went down verses Connecticut. Filling in for Jefferson, she finished with 11 points, three assists and a steal.
Can the Stars contain Brittney Griner?
This season, she is averaging 22.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. It is always a difficult task to stop Griner from getting touches down low. Standing at 6’8, she will have a size advantage over every post player on San Antonio’s roster. With that being said, the Stars will likely send double teams to disrupt her.
In the previous meeting with the Stars, Griner posted 20 points and 13 rebounds. She effectively got every thing she wanted in the post, so the Silver and Black will have to do a better job defending her. Forcing her off her spots will play an important role in limiting her production.
Will the Stars have a better showing this time out?
The Stars were not very good on either side of the floor versus the Sun. The Silver and Black only shot 33 percent from the floor, while the Sun shot a scorching 51 percent.
The Stars also committed 18 turnovers, compared to only 13 giveaways from Connecticut. The Sun’s active hands defensively caused 12 steals, with Alyssa Thomas accounting for seven of them.
Turnovers created by steals often result in open layups on the other end, and the Stars simply cannot give the Mercury any easy offensive possessions. Taking better care of the ball should be an absolute must this game, as well as efficiently converting the offense.
If the Stars can consistently perform on both ends of the floor, a win is possible.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT from the AT&T Center.