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Griner, Taurasi power No. 8 Phoenix to WNBA semis

Without Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi performing at their peak, the Phoenix Mercury wouldn’t have beaten the New York Liberty 101-94 to earn a spot in the semifinals.

Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner lead the Phoenix Mercury to win in the WNBA Playoffs David Dow - Getty Images

New York, NY — It’s a very good thing that Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi will survive to another round of the WNBA Playoffs.

Simply put, they earned it.

Tonight, the Phoenix Mercury took on the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden in the second elimination game of the 2016 WNBA Playoffs. The game, naturally, went right down to the wire.

Phoenix survived a late scare from New York to win 101-94. The Mercury will now advance to the semifinals of the playoffs to take on Minnesota in a best of five series.

And while there were a multitude of factors that went into this playoff game, it was the combination of Griner and Taurasi that allowed them to survive.

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Griner dropped 17 points in the first half, and was in some sort of a trance. She absolutely dominated in the paint, knocking down shot after shot. And, to top it off, Griner grabbed eight rebounds and four blocks in the half.

Nothing was getting through her. She was nearly unstoppable.

Griner’s play inside, along with the veteran leadership of Taurasi, was enough to build an 11-point lead at the break. The game was in their control.

But, of course, this is a playoff game. Nothing is easy.

The Liberty opened up the second half on a massive 16-2 run, putting them right back into the game.

Griner kept the Mercury close in the third quarter, creating enough offense and dropping five points to keep them in the game.

But it was Taurasi who shined in the fourth quarter.

Taurasi dropped 17 points in the final period of the game. 17 points in just 10 minutes.

She would end up with 30 total points on the night, shooting 50 percent from behind the three-point line. Griner finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, going 9-of-14 from the field.

Had Griner not held it down early in the game, and Taurasi not dropped 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Phoenix Mercury would not be headed to the semifinals of the playoffs.

Like I said, it’s a very good thing that Taurasi and Griner weren’t eliminated from the playoffs. With the duo playing as good as they are, it would be a shame to keep them out of the semifinals.