Diana Taurasi clutch as the Phoenix Mercury defeat the Las Vegas Aces, 87-84, to advance to the WNBA Finals
The Phoenix Mercury will get a shot at earning a fourth WNBA title after defeating the Las Vegas Aces 87-84 in a deciding game five of the playoff semifinal series between the teams. Led by Brittney Griner and in front of 9.680 fans at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, the Mercury held off the Aces late in the fourth quarter for the win.
The last quarter was crucial as it included four ties and three lead changes. Veteran guard Diana Taurasi was the difference-maker for the Mercury. She scored 14 points in the period. Griner also came up big in the last quarter with nine points.
“Throughout the course of the season, we’ve had adversity,” Griner said, “and everybody has stepped up at some point, collectively, and we’re going to finals. I’m happy to be back in the finals, so I’m ready to go.”
Beginning Sunday, Phoenix will compete against the Chicago Sky for the title. The last time both teams contended for the title was in 2014. Back then, the Mercury swept the Sky 3-0. This season marks the fifth time Phoenix has reached the finals in franchise history.
During the regular season, the Mercury swept its three meetings against Sky. Friday night, the team played without key contributors, guards Kia Nurse and Sophie Cunningham. Nurse tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee during game four against the Aces on Wednesday night. Cunningham is suffering from a left calf strain and may see action in the Finals, according to Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello.
Griner led all scorers with 28 points plus nine rebounds. Taurasi added 24 points. Shey Peddy and Skylar Diggins-Smith also earned double figures, Peddy with 15 points plus five rebounds and Diggins-Smith with 14 points plus eight assists.
Four Aces players scored in double figures. Chelsea Gray contributed 22 points and dished out six assists. Kelsey Plum came off the bench for 22 points.
|Sun.||Oct. 10||Chicago at Phoenix – G1||3:00PM||ABC|
|Wed.||Oct. 13||Chicago at Phoenix – G2||9:00PM||ESPN|
|Fri.||Oct. 15||Phoenix at Chicago – G3||9:00PM||ESPN2|
|Sun.||Oct. 17||Phoenix at Chicago – G4*||3:00PM||ESPN|
|Tue.||Oct. 19||Chicago at Phoenix – G5*||9:00PM||ESPN2|