No Diana Taurasi? No problem for the Phoenix Mercury, who have DeWanna Bonner to hold down the fort in the absence of their former MVP.
Taurasi has missed the first eight games of the season due to a back injury, which has undoubtedly contributed to the Mercury’s current slump (they hold the #8 spot in the league). As the team continues to navigate the ropes without its star, Bonner has consistently elevated her game to new levels of excellence, leading the league in scoring with 20 points per game while averaging 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Using her size and versatility to her advantage, the 6-foot-4 forward has established herself as Phoenix’s most valuable asset – racking up threes, leading fast breaks and providing length and physicality on the defensive end of the floor.
What exactly does this mean for the Mercury, who are currently struggling with a less than stellar 3-5 record? A lot, considering Taurasi will soon rejoin the team, though an exact date has yet to be determined. In the meantime, Bonner continues to put up MVP caliber numbers while performing at the highest level of her career – ultimately keeping Phoenix afloat as they patiently await Taurasi’s return.
In Friday night’s blowout win over the Indiana Fever, Bonner scored 15 points and 5 rebounds for the Mercury, shooting 2-4 from beyond the arch. If she maintains this type of play throughout the rest of the year, Bonner may very well be a viable candidate for MVP – a feat that would be well deserved considering she’s virtually carried the team on her back when they’ve needed it most. Most significantly, with Taurasi, Brittney Griner and a fiery Bonner leading the way, Phoenix has the potential to transform itself into a solid contender during the second half of the season. The rest of the league just better be prepared.
Photo Credit: High Post Hoops