Phoenix Mercury dominate Chicago Sky in overtime to even WNBA Finals with a 91-86 win
While the Phoenix Mercury had a slow start, not earning a lead until the end of the second quarter, they outpaced the Chicago Sky overall for a 91-86 overtime victory in game two of the WNBA Finals, evening up the best-of-five series 1-1. The Mercury kept it exciting in front of a raucous crowd of 13,685 fans that included Phoenix Suns players and former WNBA stars.
Leading scorer Brittney Griner dunked about halfway through the first quarter, and Diana Taurasi had a momentum-shifting steal with less than a minute in overtime that gave Phoenix the chance to put the game out of reach. Her teammate and fellow guard Skylar Diggins-Smith made a driving layup to give the Mercury a five-point lead in the remaining time. With 12.8 seconds on the clock, the Sky missed two three-point attempts.
After the 40-all tie at the half, Chicago seemed on the way to a back-to-back Finals win, outscoring Phoenix 23-17 in the third period. However, the home team fought back, outpacing their opponent 22-16 to close out regulation in the fourth quarter, and the game went into overtime as both teams with 79 points.
“In overtime, we let it rip,” Taurasi said postgame in her TV interview.
Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello acknowledged the difficulty of playing the Sky during a tough playoffs stretch.
“There was still fatigue on both teams, but it’s just how bad you wanted it. So really proud. We grinded out a win….we made enough plays to get the W.”
Griner led all scorers with 29 points, and she grabbed nine rebounds. Taurasi put up 20 points plus four rebounds. Diggins-Smith had a balanced outing with 13 points, seven rebounds, and 12 assists. Shey Peddy was also in double figures with ten points plus five assists.
For Chicago, Courtney Vandersloot earned a double-double of 20 points plus 14 assists. Allie Quigley scored 19 points and corralled six rebounds. Kahleah Copper, who is the Sky’s scoring leader during the playoffs, was limited to 15 points plus nine rebounds. Up until Wednesday’s game, her playoff scoring average was 18.6 points per game.
Phoenix’s dominating performance in the last five minutes for the victory means that the team will not head to Game 3 in Chicago down a contest in the best-of-five series. The next outing is already sold out, with 10,387 fans expected at Wintrust Arena in downtown Chicago on Friday at 9 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
Parker, who expects numerous family and friends at the game, with many of them flying in to see the hometown star play, stressed the importance of the Sky keeping their eye on the task at hand.
“I think we’ve got to use it to our advantage, right?” Parker replied when asked about the prospect of playing in front of a sold-out Chicago crowd. “Everybody is going to be cheering for us, but we’ve got to stay focused and do the things that we know we have to do going into Game 3.”
- Brittney Griner tied her postseason career-high with 29 points
- Skylar Diggins-Smith set Phoenix’s single-game Finals assist record (12).
- Sky forward Candace Parker became just the third player in WNBA Playoffs history to total 500 rebounds.
- Parker also became the fourth player in WNBA history to amass at least 1,000 points in her playoffs career.
- Courtney Vandersloot tied the Finals single-game record for steals with five.
- Game two marked the fifth Finals game to be decided in overtime.