PHOENIX – Brittney Griner dunked scoring 29 points, Diana Taurasi had eight of her 20 points in overtime and the Phoenix Mercury tied the WNBA final with a 91-86 win over Chicago Sky on Wednesday night in Game 2 .
Griner kept the Mercury within reach of Chicago on a slow start and allowed the Phoenix Suns players sitting off the court to stand up with his second career playoff dunk in the first quarter. She scored on a recovery jump to help give Phoenix a four-point lead late in regulation, but narrowly came close to blocking Courtney Vandersloot’s layup with 4.4 seconds left.
“I mean BG has been so important to us the whole game,” Taurasi said. “She’s just amazing. She kept us in the game when we weren’t playing well.”
Taurasi opened overtime with a four-point play and added a 3-point pointer that gave Phoenix an 89-86 lead with 1:24 remaining. She then came up with a huge defensive play, securing a steal with 36 seconds left.
Skylar Diggins-Smith, who had 13 points and 12 assists, sealed it on a layup with 12.8 seconds left.
“In overtime we let him down,” Taurasi said. “We talked to each other and said this would be our best five minutes of basketball and it happened.”
Vandersloot led the Sky with 20 points and 14 assists. Allie Quigley added 19 points.
Game 3 is Friday in Chicago.
Chicago overcame the nervousness at the start and took advantage of shorthandedness and fatigue to win Game 1 91-77. (Candace) Parker had a calming influence scoring 16 points and Kahleah Copper scored 21 points.
Phoenix was without guards Kia Nurse (ACL tear) and Sophie Cunningham (calf), and had to play two days after winning their semifinal series in Las Vegas.
The Mercury had more preparation time and Cunningham returned to the lineup after missing three games, but was scrapped early.
Chicago, one of the best offensive teams in the WNBA, was at its best, its crisp passes creating open glances. Sky knocked them down early, hitting 7 of their first 12 shots to take a nine-point lead early on.
Phoenix went to Griner early and often. The 6-foot-9 center delivered an early dunk after Sky inexplicably left her alone in the lane, putting Suns players on their feet, and had 14 points at halftime.
Cunningham hit a pair of 3s to bring the Mercury back from the initial deficit and hit another after a nasty crossover to help Phoenix shoot even 40 at halftime.
Chicago increased their offense again to start the third quarter, building a seven-point lead. Phoenix responded by handing the ball over to Griner to help the Mercury regain the lead in the fourth quarter.
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