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Post power: Will Griner or Charles dominate tonight?

The Phoenix Mercury shattered the New York Liberty’s playoff dreams in the 2016 WNBA Playoffs. However, the Mercury is not the same team only returning two players from the 2016 season.

New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Brittney Griner, Tina Charles Nathaniel S. Butler - Getty Images

Phoenix, AZ — The New York Liberty travel out west to take on red-hot Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury.

The Liberty certainly have its hands full with Griner, making the post match-up with Tina Charles a point of interest.

Both teams enter the contest down one crucial player. For the Liberty, Brittany Boyd tore her Achilles in the fourth quarter of the Minnesota game. Boyd’s injury was deemed season-ending. She was scheduled to undergo surgery on May 22.

While, the Mercury are without heavy hitter, Diana Taurasi. Taurasi was suspended one game after being assessed a flagrant 2 against San Antonio on Friday.

Last Time Out

New York is coming off of a crushing loss at home against the Minnesota Lynx, 90-71.

The Liberty started out hot scoring the first eight points, but New York’s hot streak was snapped as the Lynx went on a 22-6 run to take control. The Lynx finished the first period with a 24-19 advantage.

However, the Liberty fought back in the second period, outscoring the Lynx, 21-19. New York was only down three points at the half, 43-40.

Out of the half, the Liberty took a 45-43 lead. However, Minnesota picked up 17 quick points. Midway through the third quarter, the Lynx held a 60-47 advantage and they never looked back.

New York fought back in the fourth quarter behind a 7-0 run sparked by Boyd. The Liberty cut the score to 74-67. But, that is as close as New York would get to Minnesota.

Unfortunately, New York’s Boyd went down at that moment with her season-ending Achilles tear.

Sugar Rodgers paced the Liberty racking up a game-high 20 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, while Boyd added 16 points and 3 assists before exiting the game.

Brittany Boyd Update

After an MRI confirmed Boyd did tear her Achilles, she later underwent surgery just yesterday at Hospital for Special Surgery.

“Brittany suffered an unfortunate injury after working hard to come into this season prepared to lead our team from the point guard position,” said Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer. “She had an excellent training camp and was poised for a breakout season, as evidenced by the way she performed in our first two games. We are all hoping for a speedy recovery.”

No further update has been released.

Playing Phoenix

The Mercury are coming off back-to-back wins against the Indiana Fever and San Antonio Stars. However, the Mercury will be without the face of its franchise as Taurasi is serving a one-game suspension for using her forearm to hit San Antonio’s Dearica Hamby in the back of the head during the contest on Friday.

Phoenix is led by star post player, Brittney Griner, who has earned a double-double in the last two games. Griner currently sits at second in the league in scoring, averaging 23.3 points per game. The 6-foot-9 center has made 20 of her last 27 shots.

Phoenix has four players racking up double-figures: Griner leads the Mercury averaging 23.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. Taurasi and Leilani Mitchell are both adding 11 points apiece, while Danielle Robinson is averaging 10 points and 6.7 assists.

As a team, the Mercury are averaging 73.7 points per game, 30 rebounds and 16 assists. Phoenix is shooting 43% from the field, but only 27% from three-point land.

Series Notes

The Liberty own the all-time record against the Mercury, 24-18. New York is 16-6 at home, but 8-12 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Last season, the pair met three times. New York won both regular season match-ups, but the Mercury knocked the Liberty out of the WNBA Playoffs.

Tip-Off

The New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury tip off at 10 PM ET tonight.