Mercury retains Sky on ot in game 2 to tie the series
Posted On October 14, 2021
PHOENIX – The Phoenix Mercury rallied in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night and Diana Taurasi went into overtime to beat the Chicago Sky 91-86 and even the WNBA final at 1-1.
Best-of-5 Game 3 takes place in Chicago on Friday.
Leading 63-57 after the third quarter, Sky knocked down a Taurasi-led Mercury charge on 3 consecutive runs from Stefanie Dolson and Allie Quigley and appeared to lead 72-65 at 5:57 left.
After a replay, however, a 3-point Diamond DeShields pointer was ruled after the shot clock, reducing Sky’s lead to four.
Brianna Turner scored on an alley-oop pass from Skylar Diggins-Smith, followed by a 3-point play from Brittney Griner, giving the Mercury the 70-69 lead at 4:39.
Quigley responded for the Sky with a 3-point pointer, then Turner scored on a layup after a steal for 72-all at 3:45. Griner scored a Diggins-Smith assist at 2:46 for a two-point lead over Mercury.
Even with the large home crowd, including members of the Phoenix Suns, standing to cheer and wave, Courtney Vandersloot scored from a drive for 74-74 at 2:32.
The Mercury missed three shots but retained the ball with 1:33 to go after video of a ball going out of bounds.
Griner scored on a three-footer at 1:22 for 76-74. The Sky missed twice before Turner bounced back for Phoenix. Shey Peddy scored for a four-point lead with 27.4 seconds left.
Kahleah Copper rebounded from a miss by Sky, scored and completed a three-point play, reducing Mercury’s lead to 78-77 to 14.1 seconds.
Vandersloot fouled Peddy at 10.3. Peddy missed his first free throw and made the second for a two-point lead.
After a time out, Vandersloot completed an equalizer layup with 4.4 ticks remaining.
The Mercury took a time out. Taurasi joined Griner, but the pass was stolen by Candace Parker, sending the game into overtime.
How overtime has decreased
In the extra five minutes, Taurasi, the WNBA’s career leading scorer, posted a 3-point and a free throw after being fouled for an 83-79 lead.
Diggins-Smith scored on a finger roll at 3:47 for a five-point lead early in extra period.
Quigley scored 3 points, helping Chicago fall back to less than two, 86-84, then equalize at 2:20 on a drive from Azura Stevens.
Griner blocked Copper on a drive at 1:34 with the ball going out of bounds for Phoenix.
Taurasi knocked down another 3 points for an 89-86 1:24 lead, then stole the ball to Vandersloot with 34 seconds left.
Diggins-Smith killed a few lap times, then scored a cross over Vandersloot for a five-point lead to 12.8 seconds.
Dolson missed a long 3-point shot, followed by a Vandersloot miss as the Mercury rebounded from a Game 1 loss, as they did in the semifinals against Las Vegas.
Griner led Phoenix with 29 points and nine rebounds. Taurasi scored 20 and Diggins-Smith 13.
Four Sky starters scored in double digits led by Vandersloot with 20.
Griner dunks in the first trimester
The Mercury led the entire first quarter and much of the second, including by eight (30-22) with 7:41 remaining until halftime.
Diggins-Smith and Cunningham scored 3 straight points to fuel a Mercury 8-0 run to tie it at 30. Neither team led by more than two points the remainder of the quarter.
The Mercury took the lead for the first time (38-36) at the end of the half on Turner’s alley-oop conversion on a pass from Diggins-Smith. Copper scored the last basket of the second to tie 40-40 at halftime, an improvement for the Mercury after trailing 11 at halftime in Game 1.
The 6-9 Griner dunked at 5:35 of the first quarter, his sixth of the season, most of his career for just one season. It was his second career playoff dunk and 19th in the regular season and playoffs, most in WNBA history.
Griner scored the Mercury’s first 10 points and had 14 at halftime.
The Mercury had a 20-14 advantage in the second quarter after trailing 26-20 after the first when Sky shot 60%. Chicago’s shot was down to 48.7% at halftime but well ahead of Mercury’s 35.7% (down from 50% after the first quarter).
Cunningham played for the first time in four games, returning from a calf injury. She started in Peddy’s place.