WNBA Playoffs: Brittney Griner had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and Diana Taurasi scored six of her 14 points in overtime as the Phoenix Mercury defeated the Seattle Storm 85-80 in a second-round playoff game in Everett, Washington, on Sunday evening.
The single-elimination game between two of the league’s heavyweights was a slugfest that went back and forth until Taurasi, who had missed the previous five games due to a left ankle injury, and Griner proved too much for Seattle in overtime.
The fifth-seeded Mercury will face the second-seeded Las Vegas in the best-of-five league semi-finals, which begin on Tuesday night.
Six ties occurred in the fourth period, the final of which occurred on Sue Bird’s three-pointer with one minute remaining, which tied the game at 73. Skylar Diggins-Smith, who shot over 80% from the line this season, missed two free throws with 40.8 seconds remaining.
With 15.4 seconds remaining, Seattle’s Jewell Loyd missed a driving layup, giving Phoenix a chance at the game-winning shot. However, Diggins-lane Smith’s jumper was blocked by Mercedes Russell, forcing the game into overtime.
.@brittneygriner had herself game yesterday 😤
• 23 PTS
• 16 REB
• 4 AST
• 2 BLK
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 27, 2021
Taurasi shot a three-pointer with 3:39 left in overtime to level the game at 76 and then hit the game-winning basket a little more than a minute later to give Phoenix a lead they would not surrender. Griner then added a layup with 52.6 seconds remaining.
Chicago Sky 89 – 76 Minnesota Lynx
Courtney Vandersloot led five players in double figures with 19 points as the No. 6 Chicago Sky upset the No. 3 Minnesota Lynx 89-76 in Minneapolis. The Sky will now face the top-seeded Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night.
Chicago led by six points entering the fourth quarter and rapidly increased its lead to 71-58 by the 7:59 mark. The Lynx trimmed their deficit to four points with 3:47 remaining on a Napheesa Collier three-pointer, but they would not go any closer.
The Sky advanced to the semi-finals for the first time since 2016, with Kahleah Copper’s 16 points. For Chicago, Azura Stevens had 15 points, Diamond DeShields had 14 off the bench, and Allie Quigley had 11.
Aerial Powers led all scorers with 24 points, while Kayla McBride added 19 and Sylvia Fowles added 17 for Minnesota in the loss. For the third time in four seasons, the Lynx were defeated in a single-elimination round.
Both teams had leads in the first quarter before DeShields scored the final four points of the quarter to bring Chicago within 23-22 after 10 minutes. The two teams traded leads early in the second quarter before Chicago pushed ahead for the rest of the half, leading by as many as six points and finishing with a 42-38 edge at the break.
McBride and Fowles led all scorers with 13 points each at halftime, while Copper led the Sky with 11 points. In the first 20 minutes, Chicago outshot the Lynx 54.8 per cent to 43.2 per cent, but both teams struggled from beyond the arc, with the Sky going 2 for 10 and Minnesota going 2 for 7.
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