Diana Taurasi, age 39 and recovering from an ankle injury, set a personal playoff career high with 37 points off 8-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, including one triple made over 6-foot-8 Liz Cambage that epitomized a Thursday night where nothing could go wrong for the Phoenix Mercury en route to a 117-91 semifinal series-evening win over the Las Vegas Aces at Michelob Ultra Arena.
Phoenix's 117 points is the most points ever in a regulation #WNBA playoff game. It's the 2nd most in any playoff game. The 2009 Mercury own the record with 120 points in an OT win against Indiana. https://t.co/ujMhc55kx1— Her Hoop Stats (@herhoopstats) October 1, 2021
In contrast to the Mercury’s playoff-opening struggle against the New York Liberty where the Liberty refused to let Phoenix get the ball to Brittney Griner and caused Mercury fans to wonder how their team was going to score, Griner came out draining everything whether it was from mid-range or inside en route to 16 of Phoenix’s 37 first-half points.
The Mercury were in one gear all game long. The Aces did their best to keep up, scoring 52 points in the first half, but they still trailed by 16 at the break. Taurasi scored 12 points in the second, 11 in the third and nine fourth.
Griner finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks in 25 minutes and 46 seconds of playing time. Skylar Diggins-Smith added 17 points and five helpers as the star power of Phoenix’s big three was something to behold. The Mercury left no question that they are capable of hoisting the trophy when the playoffs are through.
Aces guard Kelsey Plum, who was named Sixth Woman of the Year earlier in the day, was in one gear as well, but it was an exhausting task trying to come back. She finished with 25 points in defeat after scoring 25 in the series opener.
Shey Peddy broke out of her shooting slump by going 3-of-4 from downtown to complement Taurasi. The Mercury were 14-of-26 from distance and 23-of-24 from the free throw line as a team and shot a scorching 60.6 percent from the field. Taurasi was 9-of-9 from the stripe.
Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello on Taurasi: “I’ve seen many big games by Diana,” but none quite like this one tonight, considering she’s nursing an ankle injury while on the road in the WNBA semifinals.— Sam Gordon (@BySamGordon) October 1, 2021