4:00 PM ET, June 17, 2012
If not for facing the Tulsa Shock, the Phoenix Mercury wouldn't have a win this season.The Mercury will go for their 11th straight victory over the winless Shock on Sunday at the Bank of Oklahoma Center.Phoenix's struggles without Diana Taurasi continued Friday in a 78-60 loss to Minnesota. The Mercury shot 28.8 percent, went 2 of 19 from 3-point range and committed 17 turnovers while scoring their fewest points since a 77-55 loss to San Antonio on Aug. 28, 2008."Our shots weren't falling from the start," point guard Sammy Prahalis told the Mercury's official website. "It's pretty frustrating. And then we had some turnovers in bad spots where they just kind of fed off those and made a couple of runs."Phoenix (2-6) is off to its worst start since 2008 as it deals with the continued absence of Taurasi, who is out indefinitely with a strained left hip flexor. The Mercury have lost five of six without the former league MVP, with the five defeats by an average of 18.2 points.Both of the Mercury's wins, including one without Taurasi, were against Tulsa. Phoenix has lost its last two following a 79-72 win over the Shock on June 3.Candice Dupree has averaged 23.0 points in the two victories over Tulsa, while DeWanna Bonner has averaged 19.5 in the games.As difficult a time Phoenix has had without Taurasi, it pales in comparison to Tulsa's woes.The Shock (0-9) have lost 15 in a row dating back to last season, including an 86-73 loss to Seattle on Friday.Tulsa shot 39.3 percent while allowing the Storm to connect on 54.7 percent. Seattle, which had lost four straight, had a 36-23 advantage on the boards."One thing we can't do is get comfortable with how things are going," said guard Temeka Johnson, who scored 13 points. "It's easy for things to unfold when situations like this happen. ... In actuality, we are making some great strides and turned some things around. The best thing to do is stay as positive as you can through the storm because once you get out of it you definitely come out full speed."While three of Tulsa's first four losses were by three or fewer points, the last two at home have been by double digits. In the last three, it has given up 92.3 points per game.The Shock are off to their worst start since a franchise-worst 0-13 to open 2002."We are making a lot of mistakes, but that is more opportunities to learn from them and develop our game, personally and as a team," rookie forward Glory Johnson said.Tulsa's last win over the Mercury was a 101-90 victory in August 2009.