The Phoenix Mercury were in danger of falling behind 0-2 in the best-of-five WNBA Finals.
Then Diana Taurasi showed why she is the leading scorer in league history, delivering eight of her 20 points in overtime as the Mercury beat the Chicago Sky 91-86 on Wednesday, setting up a pivotal Game 3 on Friday night in Chicago.
“That’s the G.O.A.T. right there,” Phoenix center Brittney Griner said of Taurasi. “It doesn’t matter how she starts the game. You know when it’s crunch time, we have all the faith in the world that Dee is going to make those shots.”
The Mercury bounced back from a sluggish performance in a 91-77 loss in Game 1 and were bolstered by the return of Sophie Cunningham from a calf injury. She scored nine points.
“We were able to dig deep,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said. “We knew we needed to play with that sense of urgency. We’re a way better team than what we showed in Game 1.”
Chicago lost for just the second time in eight playoff games. The Sky led for most of the game and took a six-point edge into the fourth quarter before Taurasi hit two 3-pointers to trigger the Phoenix comeback.
“They had momentum (in overtime) and (were) getting in spots where they wanted to get to, and we didn’t,” Sky coach James Wade said. “Execution is really important. The team that doesn’t, they can get a run ran on them really quick especially in a game like this.”
The Sky turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 25 Mercury points, after 18 turnovers led to 24 points in Game 1.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” forward Candace Parker said. “We have a lot of weapons and when they take one away, we have to be confident and move (the ball). We did that early, but we need a consistent 40 or 45 minutes of moving it.”