The first half between the Phoenix Mercury and Seattle Storm can be summed up most succinctly by one number: the visiting Storm had no offensive rebounds in the first half, which is particularly impressive given that the Storm got twice as many boards as them on Thursday.
In other words, the Mercury's intensity on the defensive end has been as much a reason for them taking a 41-30 halftime lead as guard Diana Taurasi finding her touch to score 15 points in the first half after only scoring 11 in Game 1.
But the biggest star for the Mercury tonight was Candice Dupree - starting at center for the second consecutive game - who scored 18 points but also had three blocks, which is one off of her career-high. Dupree's blocks embody a commitment to defense that the Storm haven't seen from the Mercury for some time, with multiple players swarming to contest shots and stop penetration.
Although the Mercury stifled the Storm around the basket, the Storm stayed in this game with the play of their perimeter players. Katie Smith scored a team-high 14 points on 4-for-4 3-point shooting and Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson - who has spent much of her time on the perimeter - added 10.