NBA TV will host Friday’s matchup between the Las Vegas Aces and the Phoenix Mercury with tip-off set for 10:00 p.m ET at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Mercury will look to start off the 2022 season with a win after coming up short in the 2021 WNBA Finals. They’ll be led by all-time great, Diana Tauaris who is entering her 15th WNBA season. Taurasi averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 defensive rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in the 2021 season. The Mercury will also get help from guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 assists per game last season. Brittney Griner will not play to start the season as she remains detained in Russia.
The Aces finished the 2021 season 24-8, but were eliminated from the playoffs by the Mercury. Guard A’ja Wilson averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in 2021 and will look to start off this season with a win.
This will be the debut game for both head coaches, Mercury head coach Venessa Nygaard and Aces head coach, Becky Hammon. Nygaard was hired this off-season and was with the Aces last year as a top assistant. Hammon is coming from the San Antonio Spurs where she spent the last eight years.
Picks & predictions
Pick: Aces -4
Normally losing one of the best players in the game in Liz Cambage is a challenge, but the Aces still have A’ja Wilson, who is the MVP and a true force in the sport. Add in the new voice of the analytically-inclined Becky Hammon, and expect to see a barrage of bombs from the perimeter for Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, Riquna Williams, Jackie Young, and more.
Until Brittney Griner returns from a tragic detention in Russia, the Mercury are simply behind the eight ball here.
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