It had to be in the back of minds the entire game. Diana Taurasi, coming off a six-turnover Game 1 loss, had yet to make an impact.
In the first minutes of overtime, it hit hard. 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.
Skylar Diggins-Smith laid in the game-sealing layup in extra time to lead the Mercury after Brittney Griner kept them in it all game.
Diggins-Smith scored 13 points with 12 assists and seven rebounds, while Griner led all scorers with 29 points, adding nine rebounds and two blocks. Shey Peddy scored 10 points off the bench.
Game 3 is at a sold-out Wintrust Arena in Chicago on Friday (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
Courtney Vandersloot forces OT, leads Sky
Phoenix took the 70-69 lead on an and-1 by none other than Griner, their go-to player all night. Quigley answered for Chicago with a 3-pointer in the corner off of classic Sky ball movement and momentum appeared to be swinging to them after a missed Mercury 3. But Candace Parker, who rebounded it and took it down the court, was stripped by Brianna Turner, who completed the bucket on the other end to tie it again, 72-72.
Griner and Vandersloot traded layups and the Sky failed to rebound multiple Mercury misses until Griner hit yet another shot on a massive night. Peddy added a bucket to go up by four.
Kahleah Copper, who paced the Sky in Game 1, put back a rebound and added the free throw to come within one with 14.7 seconds on the clock. They fouled Peddy, who missed the first of two.
Vandersloot tied it on a drive to the basket and Phoenix couldn’t get a final shot as the inbound pass tipped off Griner’s hands to Parker.
Vandersloot was phenomenal for the Sky, which struggled from 3-point range and in getting to the free-throw line in the first half. The point guard had a 20-point, 14-assist double-double with five steals and three rebounds. It is the first 20-point, 14-assist game in WNBA Finals history, per Her Hoop Stats.
Quigley added 19 points, but was 3-for-12 from 3-point range. Copper had 15 points with nine rebounds and Parker added 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Chicago had 19 turnovers to Phoenix’s 13. It was a problem for both, but proved costly for Chicago in the end.
Chicago’s third quarter
Chicago created separation with a 9-0 run in the third quarter that ultimately gave a 63-57 lead going into the fourth quarter. They won the quarter by the same six-point margin that determined each of the four regulation periods.
Trailing by four after Taurasi’s third bucket of the night,…
Read More: Brittney Griner, Mercury tie series in Game 2 2021-10-14 03:21:00