PHOENIX — The Phoenix Mercury rallied in the fourth quarter Wednesday night and Diana Taurasi starred in overtime to edge the Chicago Sky 91-86 and even the WNBA Finals at 1-1.
The best-of-5 Series Game 3 is in Chicago on Friday.
With 5:57 remaining, the Sky led 63-57 from the end of the third quarter. They defeated a Mercury charge by Taurasi with consecutive 3-pointers made by Allie Quigley & Stefanie Donson.
However, after replay review, it was determined that the 3-pointer from Diamond DeShields had occurred after the shot clock. This cut down the Sky lead by four.
Brianna Turner got the ball on an alleyoop pass by Skylar Diggins Smith, which was followed by a Brittney Giner 3-point play that put the Mercury in front 70-69, at 4:39.
Quigley responded for Sky with a 3-pointer. Turner followed up at 3:45 by scoring on a layup, after Turner had snatched 72 points. Griner took advantage of a Diggins-Smith pass at 2:46 to take a Mercury lead by two points.
Courtney Vandersloot won 74-74 with the home crowd at 2:32.
After a review of the ball that was knocked out, however, The Mercury failed three shots and still retained possession at 1:33.
Griner hit a three-footer for 76-74 at 1:22. Turner recovered for Phoenix from two missed shots by the Sky. Shey Peddy scored for four points with 27.4 seconds remaining.
Kahleah Copper scored after a Sky missed, and completed a three point play. This cut the Mercury’s lead to 78-7 at 14.1 seconds.
Vandersloot fouled Peddy 10.3. Peddy made her second free throw but missed the first.
Vandersloot took a timeout and drove to a tie layup, with only 4.4 ticks left.
The Mercury called timeout. Inbound for Griner by Taurasi, Candace Parker stole the pass, sending the match to overtime.
What happened to overtime?
Taurasi was the WNBA’s career score leader and made a 3 pointer, followed by a free throw, after being fouled. The overtime lasted five minutes.
Diggins-Smith took a three-quarters lead in extra time with a finger roll at 3.47.
Quigley made a 3 pointer to help Chicago pull within 2 (86-84), then pulled even at 2:20 after an Azura Stevens drive.
Copper got blocked by Griner on a 1:34 drive, the ball moving beyond bounds to Phoenix.
Vandersloot was then able to take the ball with just 34 seconds remaining when Taurasi made another 3 pointer, giving him an 89-86 lead.
Diggins-Smith sped up the clock and then crossed over on Vandersloot to give Diggins-Smith a 5-point advantage at 12.8 seconds.
Dolson was unable to make a 3-pointer and Vandersloot missed as the Mercury bounced back from their Game 1 defeat, just like in the semi-finals against Las Vegas.
Griner was the Phoenix’s leading scorer with 29 points. He also had nine rebounds. Taurasi was able to score 20 points, while Diggins-Smith scored 13.
Vandersloot, who has 20 Sky starters, led the way with four double-digit scores.
Griner dunks in first quarter
With 7:41 remaining until halftime, the Mercury was trailing in the first and second quarters.
Cunningham and Diggins Smith made three consecutive 3-pointers in a 8-0 Mercury win to tie the game at 30 all. The rest of quarter saw neither team lead by more that two points.
Late in the second half, the Mercury led 38-36. Turner converted a Diggins Smith pass into an alley-oop. Copper’s final basket was the result of the second half. This is a significant improvement over the Mercury’s 11-point deficit at the half.
She dunk at 5:35 into the first quarter. It was her sixth career dunk and her best performance in a single season. She dunk at 5:35 of the first quarter, her second postseason dunk.
Griner had scored 10 of the Mercury’s initial points, and had 14 by halftime.
In the second quarter, The Mercury led 20-14 after trailing 26-20 at halftime. This was after the Sky’s first quarter when they shot 60%. Chicago shot 48.7% at the halftime, but Chicago was well ahead of 35.7% by the Mercury (down from 50 percent after the first quarter).
Cunningham returned from a calf injury and played her first game in four. Peddy was replaced by her.