Skylar Diggins-Smith Asks Coach to Bench Her During Poor Game

  • Skylar Diggins-Smith shot simply 22% from the ground in opposition to the New York Liberty on Sunday.
  • After her closing missed shot of the sport, the Phoenix Mercury star begged her coach to bench her.
  • “Please take me out!” Diggins-Smith was heard yelling at Vanessa Nygaard throughout the Barclays Center.

Skylar Diggins-Smith misplaced her endurance whereas enjoying in opposition to the New York Liberty this weekend.

The Phoenix Mercury famous person struggled together with her shot all through Sunday’s contest on the Barclays Center. And regardless of enjoying 35 minutes within the afternoon, she nonetheless discovered herself on the court docket together with her staff down 16 factors on the tail finish of the fourth quarter.

Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Diggins-Smith.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson


So when she missed her 14th of 18 makes an attempt on the day, with simply over a minute remaining, Diggins-Smith felt her frustration boil over.

“Please take me out!” she may very well be heard yelling as she ran again on protection.

“Please!” the six-time WNBA All-Star begged, turning in the direction of head coach Vanessa Nygaard and clapping her palms.

On the next play, New York guard Crystal Dangerfield blew previous Diggins-Smith and located All-Star Natasha Howard for a straightforward two factors. Only then did Nygaard take a timeout and pull her start line guard from the sport.

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Phoenix’s complete season has been tumultuous. Months earlier than opening day, star middle Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia, the place she has remained, categorized as wrongfully detained, since February.

Although they recruited eight-time WNBA All-Star and 2012 MVP Tina Charles onto their roster, the Mercury weren’t in a position to cowl their spectacular star energy into wins. They misplaced eight of their first 10 contests — together with racking up seven straight losses, one among which noticed Diggins-Smith and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi have interaction in a heated courtside change that pressured their fellow teammates to bodily intervene.

With a restricted window remaining by which to compete for a title, the 33-year-old Charles left the staff through a contract divorce in late June. And whilst Diggins-Smith helped the staff pull itself again to a extra palatable 10-14 document forward of July’s All-Star break, rumors swirled that Phoenix’s chief in factors and assists may be shipped out of The Valley.

Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Diggins-Smith.

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri


But a commerce bundle by no means got here to fruition. Diggins-Smith has not solely remained with the Mercury to this level, however she’s carried the staff into rivalry for a possible, once-seemingly-improbable playoff berth.

With lower than two weeks remaining within the common season, the 32-year-old ranks fourth in factors per sport, seventh in assists per sport, seventh in steals per sport, and tenth in participant effectivity ranking league-wide. But whether or not she’ll have the option to carry Phoenix to the postseason nonetheless stays to be seen; Diggins-Smith and firm at present sit at seventh within the WNBA standings — only one sport forward of the subsequent three groups vying for a playoff spot.

Only eight groups earn bids to the postseason, and 5 groups have already secured their spots.

Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi.

Diggins-Smith (left) and teammate Diana Taurasi.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


But at this price, even when the Mercury holds on to one of many three remaining bids, Diggins-Smith might not have sufficient gasoline to proceed fueling the staff. The 2022 MVP candidate leads your complete league with a whopping 34.1 minutes per sport, a statistic that is clearly related to her Sunday afternoon quarrel with Nygaard.

It’s no marvel that, through the waning minutes of a sport that was already out of hand, Diggins-Smith would foyer her coach to give her some relaxation. It’s the accountable transfer for a staff that’ll want each little bit of power it could actually muster to earn its ninth consecutive postseason look.

Nygaard’s squad will tackle the Connecticut Sun on the highway Thursday earlier than returning to Phoenix to host the Liberty.

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