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Taurasi, Griner lead Mercury previous Storm 85-80 in OT

Brittney Griner scored 23 factors and grabbed 16 rebounds and Diana Taurasi scored six factors in additional time because the Phoenix Mercury beat the Seattle Storm 85-80 within the second-round, single elimination WNBA playoff sport on Sunday.

Taurasi, a game-time resolution after lacking the final 5 video games with a left ankle harm, hit a tying 3-pointer, a step-back jumper and a late free throw as Phoenix took over down the stretch.

The fifth-seeded Mercury open the best-of-five semifinal sequence No. 2 Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Fourth-seeded Seattle, taking part in with out prime scorer Breanna Stewart, opened the additional time with a Katie Lou Samuelson 3-pointer for a 76-73 lead. However from there the Storm struggled, making simply 2 of 11 the remainder of the best way.

The sport was tied at 78 when Taurasi, with an enormous brace on her ankle, hit from the left baseline to place Phoenix forward for good with 2:14 to play. She grimaced in ache going again on protection.

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“You at all times wish to play, you wish to assist your crew,” Taurasi stated. “Each groups have battled all 12 months. The ball went our means a little bit bit extra tonight. You know the way good Seattle is. Each time we come up right here we get our (butt) kicked. We discovered a strategy to steal just a few possessions and win.”

Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 20 factors for Phoenix. Taurasi had 14 factors, Brianna Turner additionally had a double=double with 12 factors and 12 rebounds and Kia Nurse 12 factors, together with two free throws to shut out the scoring with 15.eight seconds to play.

Samuelson led Seattle, the defending champions, with 18 factors and Sue Chook, Taurasi’s teammate at UConn and on 5 Olympic gold medal groups, scored 16.

“Making an attempt to be Willis Reed over right here,” Chook stated about Taurasi earlier than the 2 exchanged jerseys. “Nobody on my crew understood that reference. Perhaps that’s an indication. These followers are going to make me cry in about two seconds.”

The Storm crowd began chanting “yet another 12 months” because the 40-year-old four-time champion lined her face. Chook stated she’ll take time to determine whether or not she’ll proceed taking part in subsequent season.

Seattle beat Phoenix 94-85 10 days earlier, when Jewell Loyd matched a WNBA document with 22 factors within the first quarter and completed with a career-high 37. This time the Mercury jumped out to a 12-point lead earlier than the Storm closed the half with a 15-Zero run to guide 35-32 on the half. It stayed shut from there however Loyd, who scored 15 factors, made simply 5 of 24 photographs.

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