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WNBA: Diana Taurasi, again unreal, sends Phoenix Mercury to the finals

It looks like the Phoenix Mercury won their semifinal against the Las Vegas Aces by more than three points. When they had to take over in Game 5, they were able to demonstrate the explosive offense that led them to 26- and 27-point victories in Games 2 and 3, respectively. Diana Taurasi was simply deadly in leading the takeover and offered herself the opportunity to undoubtedly strengthen her BOAT status by assisting two others in the conversation, Cynthia Cooper and Maya Moore, with four championships.

Taurasi scored 14 points in the fourth quarter in Game 5, blocking an attempt by Liz Cambage of 6 feet with 1:26 to play and on possession after the rejection, he scored a try that gave Mercury a three-point lead. give points. .

Vegas’ Chelsea Gray flexed her clutch muscles at Taurasi by burying a match-winning 1:06, but Shey Peddy was attacked by Riquna Williams by a three-pointer, with 4.8 seconds left and making 2-of-3 free kicks. Brittney Griner blocked an A’ja Wilson attempt to block the subsequent Aces possession and then made 1-of-2 free kicks with 0.7 ticks left. As’s guard Kelsey Plum threw out a one-handed full-length prayer as time passed, but it hit the top of the backboard and fell harmlessly to the floor and the Mercury a 87-84 victory Friday night at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Vegas.

To make the win even sweeter, Taurasi’s second child was born early Saturday morning. She finished with 24 points and the Aces could not force a single player to beat them, as Griner also scored 20 plus (28) to go along with her nine rebounds.

“I hope not everyone takes this talent for granted, which we can see on the track with (Brittney) and Diana,” said Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith.

Peddy was also big with 15 points and three steals, while Brianna Turner had a typical performance with 11 plates, four steals and three blocks. Phoenix played only seven players as both Kia Nurse and Sophie Cunningham were out with injuries.

The third quarter belongs to the Aces. After a Peddy center distance made 44 seconds in the frame, Vegas scored a 14-0 score that gave him a 10-point lead. Momentum really changed when a bad pass from Taurasi was stolen by A’ja Wilson, who made a clear mistake from Taurasi and made both free kicks. Wilson scored again, Cambage made two free kicks and Gray made a set and a midfield shot to extend the run.

The Mercury trailed eight with the eighth in the fourth, but opened the final frame with a 12-0 run with two tries from Taurasi.

“It’s called heart,” Griner said. “We have a heart. This is what the Phoenix Mercury has. We do not stop, we go on. Opportunity against us, people against us. We know what we can do. ”

Wilson finished with a personal series high of 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. The 2020 MVP really went up in the game and made an incredible reverse lineup in the fourth, reducing Aces’ backlog to one and a midfield shot with 2:55 to play that gave them a two-point lead . She was also 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The Aces were 20-of-20 as a team.

Gray added 22 points and six assists and Plum scored 22 and three in defeat. Cambage was good for 10 points, 11 boards and three steals.

The Mercury tackles the Chicago Sky on Sunday at 3pm ET (ABC) in Game 1 of the finals. They are back in the championship round for the first time since 2014 when they swept the Sky. Taurasi and Griner were both part of the 2014 team and current Sky players Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley also competed in the 2014 finals. Phoenix is ​​3-0 in the final with Taurasi and 3-1 overall.

Sandy Brondello, the head coach of Mercury, is Olaf Lange, the assistant coach of Sky.

Brondello is confident Cunningham will be available for match 2 of the final, if not match 1. Nurse has a torn ACL and is out for the rest of the season.

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