Phoenix Mercury Eliminated From WNBA Playoffs, Ending League’s Second-Longest Playoff Streak
With their 77-74 loss to the Dallas Wings Sunday, the Phoenix Mercury have been eliminated from playoff contention, snapping the Mercury’s 10-year playoff appearance streak.
According to ESPN, the Mercury’s decadelong playoff streak was the WNBA’s longest active streak. The last time the Mercury missed the WNBA playoffs was 2012, when Diana Taurasi played just eight games due to injury, and Penny Taylor missed the entire season after tearing her ACL in the off-season. The Mercury drafted Baylor forward Brittney Griner after that season.
It’s been a disappointing and challenging season for the Mercury. Head Coach Vanessa Nygaard was fired in her second season after the team got off to a 2-10 start. Franchise players Griner and Taurasi have appeared in just 25 games. Taurasi has been dealing with a toe injury, and Griner took a three-game mental health break after spending 10 months in a Russian prison and missed a week due to being placed in the league’s health and safety protocols.
Additionally, All-Star point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith had her issues with the franchise as she said the team accused her of signing a contract extension knowing she was pregnant, an allegation she denied.
“It was a season that was not ideal,” interim coach Nikki Blue said, according to ESPN. “However, we still have a couple games left, so our season is not over yet. Although we might miss the playoffs this year, we still are going to focus on winning these next couple games.”
The Mercury also struggled last year but made the playoffs with a 15-21 record to keep the streak alive. Their streak is tied for the second longest in WNBA history with the Minnesota Lynx, who made the playoffs every year from 2011 to 2021. The current longest active playoff streak in the WNBA belongs to the Chicago Sky (2017-2023).