By Josh Eyraud for Somos Sports
The Phoenix Mercury was dealt a heartbreaking loss by the Seattle Storm in Game 5 of the WNBA conference finals on Tuesday.
Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm beat the Mercury 94-84, and will advance to the WNBA Finals. It was a tough defeat for Phoenix, which was down 2-0 games and fought back to even the series.
Although they lost, the Mercury held their heads high as they unloaded the bus for the last time this season and walked into the locker room. “We’ll be back,” said Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner. “This isn’t the last you’ll see of this group.”
Bonner, who was a key part of the success of the Mercury, is looking forward to next year. She believes this team will carry the charisma and fighting spirit into the 2019 season. “I’m pretty sure a lot of people are gonna come back really hungry after we almost had it,” she said.
Bonner acknowledged that she learned a lot from the team this year and it has helped her become a better player. “When Sancho (Lyttle) went down we went on a losing streak and eventually turned it around, picked it up and started playing better. To make it that far says a lot,” she said.
Bonner had a great season with Phoenix. She played in 34 games and averaged 32.9 minutes per game. She scored a total of 588 points this season and averaged 17.3 points per game. Bonner also carried an average of 7.2 rebounds per game this season, tying her career high mark in 2012.
Along with Bonner, Diana Taurasi was a major factor in the Mercury advancing as far as they did and didn’t take the loss very lightly.
“It’s tough,” said Taurasi. “We’ve been on the winning end of a lot of those series and when you come up short, you have to give respect. I think the way they (Seattle) played all season and the way they closed that game out, we have the utmost respect for them and give them their props.”
Taurasi, having completed her 14th WNBA season, reflected back on the season with joy. “There’s something special about wanting to go into the locker room and wanting to go into a game and fight with your family, and that’s how we feel. We’ve put a lot of energy into this team and can’t wait to come back next year and represent our city.”
Taurasi also noted how amazing the last two home games were and how proud she was of her home crowd. This offseason, Taurasi is looking forward to spending time with family and friends on a couple of planned vacations.
Taurasi finished the season averaging 30 minutes a game and 5.3 assists per game. She averaged 20.7 points per game along with her highest career free throw percentage this season, 92.5.