Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi separated in heated WNBA bench feud

Is there beef in Phoenix?

The Mercury’s Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi had to be separated twice after a heated exchange during a timeout late in the first half of Phoenix’s 86-74 loss to the Aces on Tuesday.

It’s unclear what led to the fiery moment that forced teammates to eventually come between the two veterans — who both were named WNBA All-Stars last season.

During the timeout, cameras captured Diggins-Smith getting riled up on the bench. She
eventually got up and appeared angry while her back was turned to the camera. That’s when Taurasi stood up from her seat and got the two got in each other’s faces.

Diggins-Smith and Taurasi combined to score 18 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Tina Charles led Phoenix with 17 points and nine rebounds.

The loss on Tuesday marked the Mercury’s second straight this season to the Aces, after Las Vegas beat Phoenix 106-88 in the season opener.

The Mercury are also playing without star center Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17.

Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi have to be separated in a tense moment
Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi have to be separated in a tense moment.
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Englebert said the league will keep Griner “at the forefront of what we do” during the season — in which the home courts of all 12 teams will contain a decal of her initials and No. 42.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday that he is working “side by side” with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert to try to bring Griner home.

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