|Stars hope to rebound in home opener vs. Mercury|
The San Antonio Stars hope playing at home makes a winning difference when they host the Phoenix Mercury on Friday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The Stars (0-2) had the worst record in the WNBA last season and has stumbled out of the gate in 2017, losing on the road at New York (73-64) and Washington (89-74) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. San Antonio's Monique Currie scored a career-high 31 points in the loss to Washington after pouring in 23 versus New York.
San Antonio hopes that rookie Kelsey Plum -- the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I history in her four years at the University of Washington -- is able to play Friday. Plum was WNBA's No. 1 draft pick, but she missed the first two games after injuring her ankle during preseason practice.
"It was a freak thing -- I never missed a game in my college career," Plum said. "It's frustrating. We'll get our pieces back. I'm trying to be patient, but it's not a good virtue of mine. I'm walking around in rehab doing different stuff, swimming twice a day."
The Stars are also without star guard Kayla McBride, their leading scorer last season, who is still in Turkey with her team Yakin Dogu, which is playing a best-of-five series for the Turkish League championship.
"I think we can build on the two losses -- we played hard, but we didn't play smart," Stars coach Vickie Johnson said. "We hustled and played every possession like it was the last. We are trying to change the culture of this team but it can't be done overnight. Right now, we just want to play and have fun and learn to trust each other."
Phoenix (1-1) heads to the road for the first time after splitting its initial two games at home. The Mercury lost to the Dallas Wings 68-58 on Sunday before rebounding for an 85-62 victory over Indiana on Wednesday behind Brittney Griner's career-high 32 points and 10 rebounds.
Griner shot 13-of-15 from the floor and now has scored at least 15 points in a career-best seven straight regular-season games going back to 2016. She scored 21 points in the first half as Phoenix used a 15-0 run in the second quarter to help build a 52-29 halftime lead and cruised home.
"My teammates got me into it," Griner said. "Credit to them, I can't get it in to myself. It does feel good putting that underneath my belt. It was like it's going to be a defensive night for me then it just started coming."
The Mercury is off to a better start than last season when it lost its first four games.
Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi, who on Tuesday signed a multi-year contract extension with the Mercury, had six rebounds in the win over Indiana, surpassing 1,500 for her career. She is the only WNBA player with 7,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,500 assists. Taurasi also passed Katie Smith for the most 3-point attempts in WNBA history.
"That opener was really our third preseason game," Taurasi said. "Basketball is all about synergy and rhythm and knowing where the next person is going to be. To have that switch flipped in 48 hours means this team was ready and focused and all the things (coach) Sandy (Brondello) wanted us to do."