Diana Taurasi lived up to her greatest-of-all-time moniker Friday night, leading the Phoenix Mercury to an 87-84 come-from-behind Game 5 win over the Las Vegas Aces.
Blunting a 14-0 third-quarter run from the Aces, Taurasi turned it on in the fourth quarter to cut into her team’s 10-point deficit.
A pair of back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth from Taurasi willed the Mercury back into the game, putting Phoenix out in front with seven minutes on the clock.
DIANA TAURASI WITH THE CLUTCH THREEE 🤐📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/JyjJ30XfZn— WNBA (@WNBA) October 9, 2021
DIANA TAURASI WITH THE CLUTCH THREEE 🤐📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/JyjJ30XfZn
Taurasi struck again with just over a minute remaining, first blocking 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage, then sinking a 3 to put Phoenix up 84-81 down the stretch.
.@DianaTaurasi WENT OFF IN GAME 5 🔥DT hit one clutch bucket after ANOTHER to help lead the @phoenixmercury to punch their ticket to WNBA Finals 💥DT's #WNBAPlayoffs record is now, 40-27 🔥 #CountIt pic.twitter.com/jZfPtcPF0o— WNBA (@WNBA) October 9, 2021
.@DianaTaurasi WENT OFF IN GAME 5 🔥DT hit one clutch bucket after ANOTHER to help lead the @phoenixmercury to punch their ticket to WNBA Finals 💥DT's #WNBAPlayoffs record is now, 40-27 🔥 #CountIt pic.twitter.com/jZfPtcPF0o
The Mercury veteran, who is no stranger to high-stakes situations, is now 16-2 in win-or-go-home games. With 24 points on the night, it’s safe to say the 39-year-old thrives under pressure.
Following the win, Mercury coach Sandy Brondello credited the team’s Game 5 victory to Taurasi.
“In the fourth quarter, we have Diana Taurasi and they don’t,” she said, borrowing a phrase from Taurasi’s UConn coach Geno Auriemma.
Taurasi seemed to be the only one unfazed by her fourth-quarter performance, telling ESPN after the game, “You just can’t care too much … I cared a lot for about a year. You know, working out. I’m 39, able to play. In these moments, you just can’t care anymore, you know what I mean? You just can’t care that much.”
Next up: Taurasi and the Mercury will face off against Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.