PHOENIX MERCURY

Diana Taurasi whips wild pass to Leilani Mitchell for clutch bucket

Sep 6, 2017, 9:44 PM | Updated: 9:57 pm

Diana Taurasi didn’t have a classic Diana Taurasi game Wednesday, but when the first-round playoff game came down to the final minutes of what would become a 79-69 win, there was the 13-year veteran making plays.

When the Seattle Storm cut the lead to within four points, 67-63, Taurasi buried a three-pointer with 1:12 left to put Phoenix ahead by seven. Then, she made an eye-popping play with 36 seconds left.

Seattle had cut it to a 70-65 Mercury lead with 36 seconds left when Taurasi came off a screen and drew the attention of three Storm defenders as she dribbled off a pick-and-roll near the right corner.

As Seattle weakside defenders watched, a backscreen on the far side of the court freed up Leilani Mitchell for a corner three. Despite defenders hounding her, Taurasi somehow whipped a perfect pass across the court. Mitchell did the rest, knocking down a backbreaking shot that put the game out of reach as Phoenix knocked down its free throws to close out the win.

Taurasi finished with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists but struggled from the field by going 2-for-8.

Mitchell added 17 while Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 23 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Penguin Air
Seattle Storm center Carolyn Swords (8) look to pass around Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) goes around Phoenix Mercury guard Leilani Mitchell (5) during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Mercury guard Leilani Mitchell (5) passes the ball as Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) defends during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) tries to bounce the ball off Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) as Storm forward Alysha Clark (32) and Mercury coach Sandy Brondello watch during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner spins around Seattle Storm center Carolyn Swords (8) during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) points to a teammate after scoring during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi (3) knocks the ball away from Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird (10) looks to pass as Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, left, defends during the first half of a first-round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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