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It’s the third time this week that the Phoenix Mercury has tasted defeat. Since last week the team has been on a loaded schedule and played 5 games in 8 days, with only 2 victories in these matchups. Last night, they fell short and took an 81-78 loss from the New York Liberty. Moreover, Mercury’s Rebecca Allen is currently under concussion protocol and Brittney Griner continues to miss time due to a toe injury. Despite today’s loss, Mercury’s Natasha Cloud had a good game but she addressed some persistent issues with the WNBA afterward.

Engaging in the post-game interview, Mercury’s Natasha Cloud shared insights from this season’s busy schedule, to injuries and recurring defeats, and charter flights. She said, “Yeah no, I personally think that this schedule is crazy. Obviously we understand that we have an Olympic break, and all those things that are pushing these games up early. I’m thankful that we are chartering because this would be a hell of a stretch if we were still flying commercial.”

 

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She further added, “That doesn’t mean that the chartering stuff we don’t need to still be better at. Nonetheless, the W’s got to figure something out whether that’s expanding or extending the schedule or whatever because this is how players get injured. Five games in eight days we’re barely sleeping. We’re getting sick,” Cloud elaborated on how the team has been feeling exhausted and indicated the issue towards the league to take action.

While she has issues with these things and calls them ridiculous, she doesn’t want to use them as an excuse. All Cloud is asking for is “some help from our league”. Further, she talked about Breanna Stewart’s efforts for charter flights. Appreciating the WNBA icon for fighting for charter flights for so many years, Cloud called her one of the best players in the world.

via Getty

It was a week before the season took off that the league committed $50 million for two years of charter flight service for all teams during the season. WNBA’s Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said, “As soon as we can get planes in places,” and told the sports editors that the W will be launching a charter program.

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The WNBA flying charter

The move came after Caitlin Clark was flocked by fans at the Dallas airport. The incident raised safety concerns for her and all the players across the league. As a result, Clark in a way forced the WNBA to make charter flights available for the teams.

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However, the demand wasn’t new for the W as it had been asked for earlier by New York’s Breanna Stewart. In January last year, Stewart tweeted, “I would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA. I would contribute my NIL, posts + production hrs to ensure we all travel in a way that prioritizes player health + safety, which ultimately results in a better product. Who’s with me?” as she was on board making contributions from her pocket to make those flights possible, ensuring player health and safety.

At the time, Commissioner Engelbert pledged to address the issue, but, no changes were made at the time. However, this issue has now been lifted as Clark used her high profile and paved the way for everyone.