WNBA

Phoenix Evens Series Before Heading to Chicago

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It’s not very often a number five seed takes on the six seed in a WNBA Finals matchup. The league experts certainly did not pick this Mercury vs Sky series. Most fans did not anticipate this matchup between two Cinderella teams either. This Finals, though unexpected, has already produced a classic in the desert on Wednesday night, as the Mercury evened the series with Chicago. This series has highlighted the immense competition the league has to offer, and there is a very good chance this series makes it to game five.

Although Phoenix’s Big Three scored plenty of points in game one, the Mercury knew they needed to play better on defense in game two. Heading to Chicago down 0-2 would have been beyond dreadful. A packed crowd, including Phoenix Suns stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul, was sensational. The fans never gave up on their beloved team, as they battled every second of the contest.

A Dramatic Game Two

The Mercury and the Sky are two very evenly-matched teams. Wednesday night’s game was highlighted by tremendous efforts by both point guards, Diana Taurasi and Courtney Vandersloot. Vandersloot lead Chicago with 20 points and game-highs 14 assists and five steals. The bigs had to physically battle each other on every possession, with Brittney Griner scoring a game-high 29 points and pulling down nine total rebounds. Chicago’s Candace Parker and Center Azura Stevens each had nine total rebounds as well. Skylar Diggins-Smith also had a double-double for Phoenix with 13 points and 12 assists.

A neck-to-neck battle the whole game dwindled down to the last seconds of regulation and into overtime. Shey “Playoff Peddy” dropped in a huge basket with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give Phoenix a four-point lead, 78-74.

With 14.1 seconds left on the clock, Chicago’s Kahleah Copper drew an and-one foul and completed a three-point play, making it a 78-77 Mercury lead. The Sky needed to clock manage, putting Shey Peddy at the line with 10.3 seconds left to play. After making one of two free throws, Chicago calls an immediate timeout down 79-77. Allie Quigley inbounded it to Courtney Vandersloot a the top of the key, who then drives in for perhaps her biggest basket of season. Vandersloot erupts down the lane and lays one up against Diggins-Smith and Griner, tying the game 79-79 with 4.4 left on the clock.

A Phoenix turnover sent the game into overtime, where Diana Taurasi opened things up with a four-point play. Phoenix took off with a six point lead to start, but Chicago never let loose. A layup by Diggins-Smith with 12.8 seconds left to play gave Phoenix a two possession lead.

The Mercury held off the Sky from any last minute heroics and secured a 91-86 victory.

The Mercury hope to bring their momentum with them to Chicago. the Big Three will need to continue with their aggressive offense. Phoenix must prepare their defense to slow down Vandersloot. The Sky will be welcomed home by an energized crowd, so it is crucial that Phoenix stays focused on the defensive end.

The Mercury went 3-0 against the Sky during the regular season, including one point victory in Chicago on June 1st.

Game three tips at 8:00 pm CT on Friday, October 15 at Wintrust Arena in downtown Chicago.

About Mike Konicek

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