Mercury stars Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi to return Saturday vs. Storm

Jun 24, 2023, 12:05 PM | Updated: 5:45 pm

Phoenix Mercury...

Diana Taurasi #3 (L) talks with Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury (R) before the first half against the Phoenix Mercury at Barclays Center on June 18, 2023 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Mercury announced that stars Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi were back in the Starting 5 Saturday against the Seattle Storm.

The duo has missed the past three games, all double-digit losses as the Mercury have struggled to make up the difference shorthanded.

They were upgraded to probable on Friday.

“We’re hopeful to have some of our players who were unable to play today back, and that will help us a lot to account for a lot of points, a lot of rebounds,” head coach Vanessa Nygaard said after Wednesday’s loss to the Las Vegas Aces.

Griner and Taurasi both last played on June 13 against the Storm at Footprint Center. Griner has been out with a hip injury, while Taurasi dealt with a hamstring issue.

Griner still leads the team in points scored despite the missed time and averaged 20.1 points per game.

Despite not suiting up, she received warm welcomes in the opposing arenas during the Mercury’s road trip to Washington and New York.

Injuries have pushed Phoenix’s other rotation players into more prominent roles, which Nygaard felt could help build confidence throughout the roster.

Sug Sutton dropped 21 points on Wednesday and Sophie Cunningham had a 27-point night Sunday against the Liberty.

“Game-by-game, I think we are getting better even though the result isn’t a win,” Sutton said on Wednesday. “I think that is something we’re talking about in the locker room and staying positive. We had 10 turnovers today, the last two games we had 10 or eight, so we’re getting better and I think once we get our big-time players back we’ll be good, as a team we’ll be better.”

Griner and Taurasi will start alongside Sutton, Cunningham and Michaela Onyenwere.

Roster cut

Phoenix also announced a roster move on Saturday, releasing forward Sam Thomas from her injury replacement contract. Thomas — the former Arizona Wildcat — played 11 minutes against Las Vegas.

Saturday’s matchup with Seattle starts at 6 p.m.

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