The lone game on the #WNBA schedule Thursday features the Atlanta Dream visiting the Phoenix Mercury at 10 p.m. ET with the visitors as 7.5-point favorites and a total of 163.5 points. The game itself could take a backseat temporarily, though, to Mercury star Diana Taurasi as she could become the first player in WNBA history to reach 10,000 career points.
Taurasi already might be considered the greatest WNBA player ever. She was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft after a historic career at UConn. She was the 2009 league MVP, a 10-time All-WNBA first-team pick, two-time WNBA Finals MVP and owns league records for made field goals (3,133), 3-pointers (1,341), free throws (2,375) and points (9,982). She has been atop the league’s points chart since way back in 2017 when she passed Tina Thompson (7,488). No other player in history has even 8,000 points.
Will Taurasi get it tonight? She needs 18 points and is averaging 16.1 ppg this season but has scored at least 20 in two straight and four of the past six – averaging 20.7 ppg in those six.
You can actually wager on how Taurasi scores that 10,000th point tonight if she does: 3-pointer is a +105 favorite with 2-pointer at +180 and free throw at +320.
Otherwise, it has been a terrible season for @PhoenixMercury, which is has the worst point differential in the league (minus-7.9), second-worst record (6-19) and has lost four straight.
All-Star center Brittney Griner will miss a third straight game on a mental health break. She leads the team in scoring (18.2 ppg), rebounds (6.7 rpg) and blocks (1.7 bpg). That Griner is out makes it more likely Taurasi gets her 18 points barring injury. Phoenix is playing more up-tempo with Griner out. If Taurasi does not reach the 10,000-point milestone tonight, the Mercury host the Seattle Storm on Saturday.
@AtlantaDream is 7-6 on the road following a 93-72 blowout loss at WNBA title favorite Las Vegas on Tuesday. These teams have met once this season, a 78-65 Fever home win on July 25. Griner had 16 points, while Taurasi was out injured. The Mercury shot just 36% from the field, including 5-for-24 from deep. AD Durr and Allisha Gray each scored 12 points to lead Atlanta.
Early leans for tonight’s game: About 62% on the Atlanta spread and 54% under the total. The SBIA model has crushed WNBA totals this year at 85-62 overall and +19.01 units returned. It has a VERY strong total lean on tonight's game with the sportsbooks' number of 163.5 "off" by 8.1 points.