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June 11, 2008 at 12:02 PM

Checking in on Phoenix

Shootaround just wrapped for both teams with Phoenix and Seattle’s camp reporting everyone healthy to play. “Unless something happens on the way out,” said Mercury coach Corey Gaines.
He made the comment because of an accident at the lower southeast tunnel where the team bus normally enters. A machine crashed into the KeyArena roll-up door and word is it will take weeks to fix the problem. I imagine somewhere Sonics owner Clay Bennett is stewing at having to spend more money on the facility. Or maybe it’s Force 10 Hoop’s problem? Owners Anne Levinson and Ginny Gilder were at shootaround.
It’s Mercury F Diana Tuarasi’s birthday (26) and Storm F Sue Bird said the celebration is tonight. I bet it won’t last too long since Seattle has to board a bus at 6 a.m. for a back-to-back set in San Antonio and Houston this weekend. It’ll be Storm F Sheryl Swoopes’ homecoming and she admitted to feeling “nervous” about the return.
Phoenix is entering tonight’s matchup on consectutive wins against Minnesota and Los Angeles. The Mercury started the season at 0-4.
After shootaround, Gaines spoke about the latest with gambling NBA ref Tim Donaghy. Donaghy alleged that games were fixed and Gaines said that has long been the rumor. Gaines joked (with a tinge of truth) that he was a bench player and never got a call while playing in the league, but went on to say how hard it would be to really “fix” a game. It was a conversation he had with Sonics assistant Paul Westhead, the former Mercury coach, at dinner on Tuesday.
“If my head was on the chopping block I’d probably say anything, too,” Gaines said. “A veteran player is going to get calls over a rookie, that’s normal in any league. That’s the way it rolls. He’s saying something deeper, but could just be talking. I don’t think anybody is ever happy with any officiating. Every league I’ve been around, it’s always been the same.”
Storm F Lauren Jackson has been super frustrated with officiating this season. During the Detroit win on Saturday, she carried the ball to the ref and screamed at him that a foul called while her arms were straight up as she defended a Cheryl Ford baseline drive was not a foul. I asked Jackson if she was concerned about getting a technical foul because of her passion in arguing her point.
“What’s 150 dollars?” she scoffed.

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