Sport Shey Peddy's free throws, Brittney Griner's last-second block send No. 5 Mercury to WNBA Finals
Mercury Eliminate Defending Champion Storm, Advance to Semis Behind Griner's Double-Double
Phoenix moves on to the WNBA semifinals after a 85–80 overtime win against Seattle behind 23 points and 16 rebounds from Brittney Griner. View the original article to see embedded media.Behind Brittney Griner's 23 points and 16 rebounds, the Mercury eliminated the defending WNBA champions with a thrilling 85–80 overtime victory over the Storm. All five of Phoenix's starters finished the afternoon with double figures in points, including double-doubles from Griner and Brianna Turner.
In a game befitting the winner-take-all moniker, it was only fitting that it came down to the wire.
With the game tied at 84, Phoenix’s Shey Peddy drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and knocked down two of her three free-throw attempts. But it was Brittney Griner on the other end who sealed it with a block on A’ja Wilson’s last-second layup attempt.
Griner then was fouled and made a free throw as the No. 5-seeded Mercury hung on for theover the No. 2 Las Vegas Aces to close out the semifinal series in front of an Aces-record 9,680 fans at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Friday night.
The Mercury will face theat 3 p.m. ET Sunday on ABC in Phoenix. The Sky were in Las Vegas on Friday and ready to make the short trip to Phoenix, ESPN reported on the Game 5 broadcast.
Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse tears ACL, will miss remainder of WNBA playoffs
Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse will miss the rest of the season and beyond with an ACL tear suffered Wednesday in the WNBA semifinals.The injury was feared to be serious when it occurred as she went up for a layup on a breakout and was blocked by the Aces' A'ja Wilson.
Diana Taurasi gets chippy, spurs big fourth-quarter run
As the third quarter came to a close, Aces forward Jackie Young and Diana Taurasi exchanged words, sparking the Mercury guard to spur her team on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
Taurasi knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers, her first of the game, during the span to help erase the Aces’ lead and flip the momentum. The game stayed close until late.
Griner led the Mercury with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds. Taurasi finished with 24 points. She is 16-2 all-time in winner-take-all games.
WNBA Finals: Kahleah Copper, Sky dominate Mercury for 1-0 series lead
The Chicago Sky continued to prove their regular season was a fluke with a dominant showing in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, taking a 91-77 win over the No. 5-seeded Phoenix Mercury at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix on Sunday. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in Phoenix on ESPN. Courtney Vandersloot also had a double-double for the Sky with 12 points and 11 assists. The Sky’s balanced attack had six players score in double figures, matching a Finals record, according to Across The Timeline.
"In these moments, you just can't care anymore"
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There were six lead changes and multiple big runs by both teams. In the first four games of the series, there were only six lead changes combined.
The Mercury started hot and led at the end of the first quarter, which they accomplished in each of the semifinal games. After holding a two-point lead at halftime, the Mercury nearly succumbed to another big third-quarter run by the Aces.
The Aces went on a 14-0 run in the quarter after a 24-0 run in the third quarter of Game 4 forced the win-or-go-home Game 5 on Friday.
The Mercury struggled from deep without two of their top 3-point shooters in. Phoenix missed its first eight shots from beyond the arc and finished shooting 5 of 21 (23.8%).
WNBA Finals: Sky take Game 1
Kahleah Copper continued to bring the energy for the Chicago Sky, who used a 26-4 run to comfortably defeat the Phoenix Mercury.Copper also had three assists and two steals and Candace Parker added 16 points, eight boards, three helpers, two steals and two blocks in what was an all-around solid effort for Chicago. The Sky won points in the paint 48-32, forced 21 turnovers, shot 52.9 percent from the field and shot 11-of-11 from the free throw line.
Kelsey Plum again shines off the bench for Aces
For the Aces, Kelsey Plum and Chelsea Gray each scored 22 points.
Plum was electric again off the bench, proving her mettle as. She hit her first three 3-pointers and was a key piece of the Aces' runs mid-game. She also had three rebounds and three assists.
Gray, who was the spark in Game 4, had six assists and four rebounds.
Wilson and Liz Cambage contributed double-doubles. Wilson had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Cambage notched 10 points and 11 boards in her best game since returning from a bout with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
The Aces outrebounded the Mercury, 38-29.
Mercury, Sky set for WNBA Finals rematch
The Mercury and Sky’s Finals matchup is a rematch of the 2014 Finals, the last time either team advanced that far. Phoenix won the third of its three titles that season.
This is the Mercury’s fifth Finals appearance in franchise history; the Sky will be in their second Finals. The Mercury won titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014; the Sky have never won a title.
Phoenix could have the advantage in the series, both through Finals experience and outcomes this season. The Mercury won all three games against the Sky and held Chicago to 39% shooting from the field.
Mercury grind out Game 2 win in OT to even WNBA Finals, 1-1, heading to Chicago
Diana Taurasi, coming off a six-turnover Game 1 loss, had yet to make an impact. Taurasi opened the frame with a four-point play and protected a slim lead late with a steal and critical save that lifted the Phoenix Mercury to a 91-86 win at Footprint Center in Phoenix on Wednesday night. The WNBA Finals, a best-of-five series, head to the home of the Chicago Sky tied at 1-1. Taurasi scored eight of her game-total 20 points in overtime and hit the 3-pointer with 1:34 that proved the game-winning points after the Sky's quick five points gave them a one-point lead.
Phoenix wonand without Taurasi, who was out with a fractured sternum. Taurasi played in the third game, a .
Another interesting sidenote comes on the sidelines: Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello will match up against her husband, Olaf Lange, who is an assistant coach for the Sky.
The Mercury also reached the WNBA Finals a few months after the Phoenix Suns, who also play at the Footprint Center, reached the NBA Finals. It is the first time that both a WNBA and NBA team from the same market made its respective Finals since the Los Angeles Lakers and Sparks both won titles in 2001 and 2002. The only other time it happened was in 1999 when both the New York Knicks and Liberty lost in the Finals.
2021 WNBA Finals schedule
Game 1: Sky at Mercury, 3 p.m. ET Sunday (ABC)
Game 2: Sky at Mercury, 9 p.m. ET Wednesday (ESPN)
Game 3: Mercury at Sky, 9 p.m. ET Friday (ESPN2)
Game 4: Mercury at Sky, 3 p.m. ET Oct. 17 (ESPN) (if necessary)
Game 5: Sky at Mercury, 9 p.m. ET Oct. 19 (ESPN2) (if necessary)
Mercury players, led by known trash talker Diana Taurasi, decline to talk after WNBA Finals loss .
While the Chicago Sky were celebrating their first WNBA championship in franchise history, the Phoenix Mercury players declined to comment and reportedly left Wintrust Arena on the team bus. The Mercury did not provide a reason why they would not answer questions from the media or give any postgame comments. Head coach Sandy Brondello did hold a postgame news conference and answered questions. After Sky head coach James Wade and Finals MVP Kahleah Copper met with the media, WNBA PR announced that Mercury players were declining to comment. Girls Talk Sports TV's Khristina Williams reported that the Mercury had left on the team bus shortly after the announcement.