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WNBA Semifinals: Turner turns it up, Mercury stay hot with Game 3 win

Brianna Turner had one of her monster rebounding performances and the Phoenix Mercury again stifled any potential big runs by the Las Vegas Aces.

Brianna Turner (with ball)
Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Brianna Turner scored a career-high 23 points and hauled in an incredible 17 rebounds as the Phoenix Mercury once again demolished the Las Vegas Aces, winning Game 3 of their semifinal series 87-60 on Sunday afternoon at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz. to go up 2-1 with a chance to advance to the Finals with a Game 4 win on Wednesday night.

The fourth quarter began with a technical foul on Las Vegas forward A’ja Wilson after her clean block of a Turner layup attempt was called a foul. Diana Taurasi made the technical free throw, Turner made both of her free throws and Shey Peddy followed with a four-point play on a banked-in three as things could not go wrong for Phoenix for the second-straight game. The sequence continued with Turner blocking a Dearica Hamby shot and Brittney Griner making a mid-range shot to give the Mercury a 27-point lead. That was the largest lead of the game and was matched twice, including with the final score.

Griner came out and dominated to start the third with 10 points in the first 5:06. She made two mid-range shots and three inside baskets during that stretch. Phoenix went on to lead by as many as 24 points in the frame and by 20 at the end of it after a Peddy floater with 0.5 seconds remaining.

Griner finished with 18 points, 11 boards, four assists and three blocks. Peddy had 10 points, eight rebounds and two steals while Taurasi followed up her 37-point performance in Game 2 with nine points and six helpers. Skylar Diggins-Smith aided the winning cause with a game-high nine assists.

The Mercury won the second by eight to lead by 15 and Turner had 17 points to go along with nine rebounds at the break. Phoenix led by as much as 19 in the frame and that came after an 11-0 run that featured six points from Turner, including a very difficult reverse layup, three free throws from Cunningham after being fouled on a trey attempt and an inside bucket from Griner on a long assist from Diggins-Smith, which capped the run.

The Aces rebounded somewhat from another bad start with some solid play from Hamby off the bench in the first. Hamby (10 points, seven rebounds) had six points and four boards in the opening frame while Jackie Young had eight points and Liz Cambage (13 points) made a three at the buzzer to cut the team’s deficit to seven.

Taurasi, who went 8-of-11 from distance in Game 2, went 2-of-2 from out there in the first 1:34 of Game 3. That was part of an 11-0 Mercury run to open the contest.

Vegas stars in Wilson, Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum combined to go 6-of-33 from the field. The Mercury won the rebounding battle 58-29.