Taurasi, Mercury even up playoff series with blowout win

The Mercury legend dropped 37 points in the victory over Las Vegas


Lorie Shaull

Head coach Sandy Brondello oversaw a rampant win for her Phoenix Mercury on Thursday.

The fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury kept their WNBA Finals hopes alive with a bounceback win over the second-seeded Las Vegas Aces on Thursday night.

After a close 96-90 loss in Game 1, the Mercury rolled to a 117-91 win in Game 2 of their best-of-five WNBA semifinals series.

“They played harder than us and wanted it more than us,” Aces coach Bill Laimbeer said. “That’s what playoff series are about.”

Phoenix came out with a sense of urgency and led wire-to-wire at Michelob Ultra Arena. The Mercury set a playoff record with a 68-point first half, and five players scored in double figures. The team rang up 26 assists in all.

The Mercury’s big three of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Skylar Diggins-Smith combined for 79 points. Taurasi, who still looked bothered by a left ankle injury, poured in a playoff career-best 37 points and adding six rebounds.

“I’ve seen many great games from Diana, but none as big as this one in the situation where she hasn’t been able to train and is not 100 percent,” Mercury coach Sandy Brondello said.

Griner added 25 points with seven rebounds and five assists, while Diggins-Smith scored 17 points and contributed five assists. 

“When you have games like this, you just enjoy them and they feel a lot better when you come out with the win,” the 39-year-old Taurasi said.

The Mercury return home for Game 3 on Sunday, where they will host the Aces at Arizona State University’s Desert Financial Arena. Tipoff is at noon local time, and the game can be viewed on ABC.