- The Phoenix Mercury will finally host a playoff game at their home arena of the Footprint Center.
- The WNBA team has played all of its “home” playoff games elsewhere because of various conflicts.
- The Suns moved their preseason game vs the Lakers to accommodate Game 4 of the Mercury-Aces series.
At long last, the Phoenix Mercury will play a home playoff game.
The franchise has hosted each of its first two “home” games of the 2021 WNBA postseason at various college gyms in the Phoenix area because its usual home arena — the Footprint Center — had multiple scheduling conflicts. First, the Mercury played a single-elimination game at GCU Arena to make way for a concert. Then, nearly two weeks later, the team hosted a playoff game elsewhere because “Disney on Ice” was in town.
Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and the rest of Phoenix’s roster were in danger of playing yet another home playoff game away from the Footprint Center this week. The Mercury’s brother team, the Suns, were scheduled to host a preseason NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 p.m. ET on October 6 — the same day and time as Game 4 of the Phoenix-Las Vegas WNBA semifinal series.
The two leagues and their respective franchises worked together to find a solution, and now, the Suns and Mercury are scheduled for a double-header at the Footprint Center. The 2020-21 NBA runners-up will start the day by hosting LeBron James and company at 6 p.m. ET, then Taurasi and company will take the floor against 2020 WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson and her Aces at 10 p.m. ET.
Suns players have been publicly supportive of the WNBA and their sister franchise. Chris Paul, the team’s star point guard, bought 500 tickets for Game 3 of the Phoenix-Vegas series to give away to fans, and lines reportedly formed around the arena as a result.
Paul and three of his teammates — Devin Booker, Jae Crowder, and Mikal Bridges — were sitting courtside at Sunday night’s game, which the Mercury won 87-60 to take a 2-1 series lead. ESPN’s Holly Rowe reported that the players asked to push their team’s charter flight back to take in Game 3 in-person, and Paul rolled up to the arena wearing a graphic T-Shirt featuring Phoenix’s Big Three.
—The Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 4, 2021
“We just want to support them the way they support us,” Paul said. “…We [are] fans. We’ve got a preseason game against the Lakers, so big shoutout to their team and our team for [pushing back tipoff time].”
“It’s gonna be dope,” he added. “We play at 3:00. We’ll probably grab something to eat and then hang around to watch them play.”
—WNBA (@WNBA) October 3, 2021