sunny.png
Sunday October 24th, 2021 11:41AM

Mercury even WNBA Finals with 91-86 overtime win over Sky

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

PHOENIX (AP) — Diana Taurasi spent most of the night being hounded by Chicago's Allie Quigley, an exhausting exercise in an already-tough game, particularly for a 39-year-old.

As Game 2 of the WNBA Finals wound toward a tight finish, the Phoenix Mercury looked to the player recently named the greatest in the WNBA's 25-year history.

Anyone who knows anything about Taurasi knows what happened next.

Summoning the will that's made her great for so long, Taurasi scored eight of her 20 points in overtime to help the Mercury even the WNBA Finals at 1-all with a 91-86 win over the Sky on Wednesday night.

“That's the GOAT right there,” said Mercury center Brittney Griner, who dunked and had 29 points. “We know time is going down, it's crunch time, we have all the faith in the world she's going to make big shots for us.”

Griner carried the Mercury early and brought the Phoenix Suns players sitting courtside to their feet with her second career playoff dunk in the first quarter. She scored on a turnaround jump to help give Phoenix a late four-point lead in regulation, but just missed blocking Courtney Vandersloot's tying layup with 4.4 seconds left.

Overtime is Taurasi time and the league's all-time leading scorer did what she does best.

Held to six points through three quarters, she opened overtime with a four-point play and added a 3-pointer that put Phoenix up 89-86 with 1:24 left. Taurasi then came up with a huge defensive play, getting a steal with 36 seconds left, and Skylar Diggins-Smith sealed it on a layup with 12.8 seconds left.

"When you’re in that moment, the gravity of what’s going on, you can feel it and you try to just laser in on each possession, each timeout, really communicating with each other,” Taurasi said.

Chicago backed up its Game 1 win with another strong offensive performance, yet couldn't finish it off. Vandersloot hit some big shots while scoring 20 points and finished with 14 assists. Allie Quigley added 19 points.

Game 3 is Friday in Chicago.

“We have a lot of weapons and when they take one away, we have to be confident and move it (the ball),” said Chicago's Candace Parker, who had 13 points and nine rebounds. “We did that early, but we need a consistent 40 or 45 minutes of moving it.”

Chicago overcame some early jitters and took advantage of the short-handed and fatigued to win Game 1 91-77. Parker was a calming influence while scoring 16 points and Kahleah Copper scored 21 points.

Phoenix was without guards Kia Nurse (torn ACL) and Sophie Cunningham (calf), and had to play two days after clinching its semifinal series in Las Vegas.

The Mercury had more prep time and Cunningham back in the lineup after missing three games, but was disjointed early.

Chicago, one of the WNBA's top offensive teams, was at its free-flowing best, its crisp passing setting up open looks. The Sky knocked 'em down early, hitting 7 of their first 12 shots to take an early nine-point lead.

Phoenix went to Griner early and often. The 6-foot-9 center delivered with an early dunk after the Sky inexplicably left her alone in the lane, bringing the Suns players to their feet, and had 14 points by halftime.

Cunningham hit a pair of 3-pointers to bring the Mercury back from the early deficit and hit another after a wicked crossover to help Phoenix pull even at 40-all at halftime.

“We put her in the starting lineup, we just thought that was the right way for us to start with our rotations and the energy that she brings,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “She was great for us.”

Chicago revved up its offense again to start the third quarter, building a seven-point lead. Phoenix countered by getting the ball back in to Griner to help the Mercury surge back into the lead in the fourth quarter.

Then it was Taurasi's turn.

FREE THROW DISPARITY

Game 2 was physical throughout and the officials seemed to let the teams play, including an exchange between Cunningham and Copper while fighting for a ball on the floor.

Phoenix ended up the beneficiary, making 10 of 11 free throws while Chicago shot just four.

“I don’t understand what ‘let them play’ means," Sky coach James Wade said. “I’ve never heard that in a game. If they’re going to the free-throw line, we should."

SKYLAR'S LIFT

The third player among Phoenix's big three had a pretty game herself.

Diggins-Smith controlled Arizona's offense from the start, finishing with 13 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.

“Skylar would probably say, ‘I’ve missed too many shots,’ but I thought with her ability to facilitate and just give us some easy baskets, we needed that,” Brondello said.

___

More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA, AP Sports - WNBA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Dimitrov downs top-seeded Medvedev in 3 sets at Indian Wells
Grigor Dimitrov beat top-seeded Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, extending the parade of upsets that has knocked out several top players
11:40PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Mercury even WNBA Finals with 91-86 overtime win over Sky
Brittney Griner dunked while scoring 29 points, Diana Taurasi had eight of her 20 points in overtime and Phoenix Mercury evened the WNBA Finals with a 91-86 win over the Chicago Sky
11:24PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Weah, Dest spark US to 2-1 win over Costa Rica in qualifier
Tim Weah scored on a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper in the 66th minute after Sergiño Dest started the comeback from a first-minute deficit, and the United States rallied to beat Costa Rica 2-1 to ease pressure as World Cup qualifying neared the halfway point
11:14PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia ready to guide Raiders
Rich Bisaccia, now in his 20th season as an NFL coach, is the interim head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders
8:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
Red Sox ride home run laundry cart to ALCS against Astros
The Boston Red Sox have been celebrating home runs by giving the hitter a ride through the dugout in a laundry cart
8:18PM ( 3 hours ago )
Playoff series for the ages as Dodgers, Giants go to Game 5
Everybody expected a playoff series for the ages between the century-old rival Dodgers and Giants, and now they’ve got it
7:10PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
Simmons drama drags on for 76ers without a resolution
Ben Simmons has reported to the Philadelphia 76ers but the disgruntled All-Star guard still may not play for the franchise
2:47PM ( 9 hours ago )
East preview: Bucks have the title, 76ers, Nets have drama
The Brooklyn Nets look like such a title favorite that James Harden felt the need for a reminder they aren’t a title team
1:58PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: WHO proposes experts to advise on virus origins
The World Health Organization released a proposed list of 25 experts to advise it on the next steps in searching for the origins of the coronavirus after its earlier efforts were slammed for accommodating China, where the first human cases were detected in late 2019
11:59AM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
The Latest: Brooklyn Nets won't play Irving until vaccinated
NBA star Kyrie Irving can keep refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he can’t play for the Brooklyn Nets
3:12PM ( 1 day ago )
Nets won't play Irving until he meets vaccine requirement
Kyrie Irving can keep refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine
2:27PM ( 1 day ago )
Nets say Irving won't play until he can do it full time
Kyrie Irving won’t play for the Brooklyn Nets until he can play in all their games
11:22AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Dream picks longtime WNBA player Tanisha Wright as new coach
The Atlanta Dream has hired longtime WNBA player Tanisha Wright as its new head coach
12:15PM ( 1 day ago )
Sky open WNBA Finals with 91-77 win over Mercury
Kahleah Copper scored 21 points, Allie Quigley added 18 and the hot-shooting Chicago Sky opened the WNBA Finals with a 91-77 win over the Phoenix Mercury
6:31PM ( 3 days ago )
Sky-Mercury set for 2014 WNBA Finals rematch
Diana Taurasi has the Phoenix Mercury back in the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014
12:38PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - WNBA
Dimitrov downs top-seeded Medvedev in 3 sets at Indian Wells
Grigor Dimitrov beat top-seeded Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, extending the parade of upsets that has knocked out several top players
11:40PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Weah, Dest spark US to 2-1 win over Costa Rica in qualifier
Tim Weah scored on a shot that deflected off the goalkeeper in the 66th minute after Sergiño Dest started the comeback from a first-minute deficit, and the United States rallied to beat Costa Rica 2-1 to ease pressure as World Cup qualifying neared the halfway point
11:14PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Trump campaign, others: Dominion worker suit is groundless
Attorneys for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, its onetime attorney Rudy Giuliani and conservative media figures are asking a judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems who argues he lost his job after being named in false charges as trying to rig the 2020 presidential election
11:04PM ( 44 minutes ago )
GOP's Youngkin stays away from 'Take Back Virginia' rally
Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans are trying to fire up the party’s right-wing base ahead of Virginia’s critical November elections
10:49PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Chicago police union head urges cops to defy vaccine mandate
The head of the Chicago police officers union has called on its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status before the weekend or be placed on unpaid leave
10:44PM ( 1 hour ago )