The Phoenix Mercury is not having a good season. They have the second worst record in the WNBA and haven’t even won ten games yet. But for one quarter on Thursday night, they were the best in WNBA history.
In the first quarter against the Connecticut Sun, Mercury scored 45 points, a record for most points scored in a single quarter in a WNBA game. The new Mercury score replaced the previous record of 44 points, set on July 23 by the New York Liberty.
Phoenix took 17 shots in the first quarter and missed only one, a percentage of 94.1%. Diana Taurasi and Brittney Grinier scored nine points each. At one point, the Mercury were leading 26-3 and had a whopping 23-point lead.
Everything was going Mercury’s way in the first quarter, right down to the final moments. With seconds left in the quarter, the score was 42-24. Mercury was just shy of the record. That’s when Moriah Jefferson hit the ball from bottom court. It fell into the bell and put Mercury in the history books.
Phoenix has not maintained this record pace. If they did, they would have defeated the Sun 180-84. The actual final score was 90-84, meaning that after that 45-point first quarter, they scored 45 points over the next three quarters combined. In the second quarter, they attempted only six shots, scored only seven points, and made 11 turnovers that led to 13 points for the Suns. But that historic 45-point first quarter is what kept them afloat.
“It was great basketball for the team in the first quarter and he joked with them that we had the best first quarter in NBA history and the worst second quarter,” said interim head coach Nikki Blue. across the Arizona Republic. “Basically, that’s how our season has been. Earlier in the season, we would have lost this game.”
The 21-8 Sun does not usually look the same as it did in the first quarter. They are a stronger, more cohesive team, and they showed it throughout the rest of the game. But they may have taken a beating when superstar DeWanna Bonner was knocked out of the game early with a back problem, and Phoenix took advantage.
Sun coach Stephanie White had glowing things to say about the Mercury after the game.
White wants to make the nine-win Mercury look as good as possible since her second-place team just lost to them, but it’s not all. Phoenix seemed truly unstoppable for an entire quarter of basketball. All they have to do is figure out how to do it in all four quadrants (or even two or three) instead of just one.