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WNBA: Fresh off buzzer-beater, Mercury shoot for two straight vs. Sky

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The Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky meet Thursday in Phoenix for the second half of consecutive head-to-head matchups.

Phoenix (4-3) topped Chicago (2-5) Tuesday in Chicago, 84-83, on Kia Nurse’s buzzer-beating launch from near midcourt.

Nurse’s 3-pointer capped a 5-0 Mercury run over the final 29.9, which was part of an 8-1 Phoenix burst in the game’s last minute and a 14-3 stretch over the final 3:36 to rally from a 10-point deficit.

“I’ve been really impressed with this team (and) how we’ve been sticking together,” Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said in her postgame press conference. Brondello added that past Mercury teams “would have lost that game by 20.”

For the Sky, the late collapse erased their own torrid comeback from down 11 points at halftime, and extended a five-game losing streak.

Diamond DeShields scored 26 points in the loss, a season high and her most since going for 30 points in the penultimate game of her All-Star 2019 regular-season.

“We’re dealing with a lot right now, as a team,” DeShields said in her postgame press conference. “Even though the game ended the way that it did, I still feel good about where we’re at, considering. We’re learning (about) each other still, we’re making adjustments literally every day.”

Chicago’s push to end its losing skid on Thursday includes an attempt to improve upon its perimeter defense from Tuesday. Phoenix’s backcourt duo of Nurse and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined for 42 points and eight assists.

The entire Mercury starting five scored in double figures, while only DeShields, Courtney Vandersloot and Ruthy Hebard recorded double-figure scoring for the Sky.

Chicago is giving up 85 points per game in its last five, and at least 82 points in four of those contests. Tuesday marked its second consecutive loss by a single possession, coming off an 82-79 loss in overtime Sunday to Los Angeles.

Phoenix’s win in Chicago marked the Mercury’s second straight on the road after losing back-to-back dates at home to Connecticut and Las Vegas. However, they allowed at least 83 points in both their wins over Dallas and Chicago as well as in both losses.

–Field Level Media

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