In an epic elimination showdown on Sunday, the Phoenix Mercury advanced to the third round of the WNBA playoffs, knocking out the defending champion Seattle Storm in an 85-80 OT victory.
There was nothing but big plays from the Western Conference rivalry that even needed five extra minutes to determine a winner.
Brittney Griner led all scorers with 23 points, while Diggins-Smith recorded 20, and Kia Nurse and Brianna Turner each had 12. Taurasi, who made her return Sunday after missing the previous four games due to an ankle injury, scored 6 of her 14 points in overtime.
What a game for @brittneygriner 👏🌵 23 Pts🌵 16 RebThe @PhoenixMercury are heading to the @WNBA semifinals! pic.twitter.com/zKGUahgvBe— ESPN (@espn) September 26, 2021
What a game for @brittneygriner 👏🌵 23 Pts🌵 16 RebThe @PhoenixMercury are heading to the @WNBA semifinals! pic.twitter.com/zKGUahgvBe
Phoenix took the early lead going up 32-20 in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Storm players Mercedes Russell, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Jewell Loyd all chipped in before Sue Bird buried a deep 3-pointer to give Seattle its first lead just before halftime.
The Storm strengthened their lead to 41-35 in the third quarter, with Phoenix trailing closely behind, with neither team leading by more than five points the rest of the way.
Tied at 70-70 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Skylar Diggins-Smith connected on one free throw, and Griner had a final drive to give Phoenix a 73-70 lead.
Bird eventually drilled a 3-pointer that pushed the score to 73-73 with a minute left. The game finally tipped into an extra period where the Mercury outscored Seattle 12-7. Brianna Turner had a killer defensive swat in overtime, while Taurasi drained a jumper with 2:14 left.
DIANA DOING GOAT THINGS IN OT! pic.twitter.com/I8sLe0LYOX— Phoenix Mercury - X (@PhoenixMercury) September 26, 2021
DIANA DOING GOAT THINGS IN OT! pic.twitter.com/I8sLe0LYOX
Seattle’s season comes to an end without star player Breanna Stewart playing due to a foot injury.