The Phoenix Mercury opened up their preseason with a victory over the Los Angeles Sparks

In what could have been a preview for a potential playoff battle, the Phoenix Mercury beat the Los Angeles Sparks 82-75. In a matchup which was missing Diana Taurasi through rehabilitation of her back, it was further robbed of star power when Candace Parker injured her hamstring within the first 3:30.

Here are three takeaways from the preseason opener.

DeWanna Bonner is still really good

The is not much to be said about the game of DeWanna Bonner which has not already been said. However, if the Mercury are going to be in a position to challenge for the Finals then they will need to ride the skills of Bonner.

In the preseason opener, Bonner scored 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting. She also went to the free-throw line seven times, connecting on all of her attempts. However, it is the all round game of Bonner which is so beneficial for the Mercury. Her eight rebounds, three assists and three steals went a long way to helping secure the win.

Alanna Smith is going to be good on so many levels

In her first game in the pro’s Smith had a struggle to shoot the ball. She went 2-of-10 from the floor, scoring only five points. However, Smith was able to impact the game in so many other categories. Smith was able to collect seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks.

Ever since Smith announced herself on the world stage, playing for the Australian Opals in the Asia Cup, I have been waiting for her to complete her college career. Now that she is in the pro’s, her all-round game should allow her to carve out playing time. Smith has the benefit of being coached by Sandy Brondello before, in the national team., which should help.

The interior defense of the Phoenix Mercury is going to be hard to score against.

The Mercury have been tough to score against since they drafted Brittney Griner, who will lead the all-time numbers for total blocked shots and blocked shots per game. However, Griner only blocked two of the team’s total of 11 blocks.

Rookie Alanna Smith led the team with three blocks, but there were eight players on the roster who blocked a shot in this game. If this number can continue, especially when superstar Taurasi returns, the Mercury will be hard to stop come playoff time.

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