Taurasi becomes WNBA playoff scoring leader in Mercury loss

Aug 26, 2018, 4:49 PM

Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi (3) passes the ball as Seattle Storm's Jewell Loyd, right, defends ...

Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi (3) passes the ball as Seattle Storm's Jewell Loyd, right, defends during the first half of Game 1 of a WNBA basketball playoffs semifinal Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE — League MVP Breanna Stewart scored 19 of her 28 points in the first half, Jewell Loyd added 23 — including Seattle’s final seven points — and the Storm held on to beat the Phoenix Mercury 91-87 on Sunday in Game 1 of their WNBA semifinal series.

After posting the best record in the league during the regular season, Seattle got a week of rest before opening the semifinals at home. For the most part there was no rust from the long layoff, but Phoenix made the final minutes uncomfortable after cutting a 16-point deficit to two.

Loyd came up with a pair of clutch baskets, including a 15-footer with 1 minute left to beat the shot clock and pushed Seattle’s lead to four.

DeWanna Bonner led Phoenix with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Diana Taurasi added 25 points. But the third of Phoenix’s big three stars, Brittney Griner, was held to 13 points and battled foul trouble throughout.

Natasha Howard added 20 points and Sue Bird had 10 points and 10 assists for Seattle. The Storm finished with 13 3-pointers, 10 in the first half.

Phoenix opened the playoff with a win at home over Dallas before traveling cross country to knock out Connecticut, and taking another cross country trip to Seattle to open the semifinals. If there was any fatigue, Phoenix didn’t show it in the fourth quarter, outscoring Seattle 20-12 and making for a tense final minute.

Seattle led by 70-54 after Stewart’s sixth 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, but Phoenix had a fourth-quarter surge waiting. Stewart scored on the low block with 4:57 left to push Seattle’s lead back to 10. Phoenix responded with a 13-5 surge led by Taurasi. She followed up a deep 3-pointer with a pass to a cutting Bonner for a basket. Stewart missed twice near the basket on Seattle’s next possession and Griner’s second-chance basket with 1:40 remaining pulled the Mercury within 89-87.

Alysha Clark missed an open 3 for Seattle, but Stewart’s offensive rebound led to Loyd’s 15-footer that barely beat the shot clock to push Seattle’s lead to four.


Taurasi became the WNBA’s all-time leader in playoff scoring, passing Tamika Catchings. Taurasi needed just eight points entering the game. … Seattle improved to 11-0 this season when Loyd scores 20 or more points. … Hall of Famer Bill Russell continued to make the rounds of Seattle basketball this summer sitting courtside for Game 1. A week ago, Russell showed up at the popular Seattle summer pro-am league run by NBA veteran Jamal Crawford.


Along with Stewart becoming the second Seattle player to be named MVP, Howard was named the league’s most improved player and Bird received the 2018 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. It’s the third time in her career Bird has received the sportsmanship award. Howard received 29 of 39 first-place votes, becoming the first Seattle player to receive the most improved honor.


Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Tuesday night in Seattle.

Phoenix Mercury

Phoenix Mercury huddle during a game against the Seattle Storm on June 16, 2024. (Jeremy Schnell/Ar...

Associated Press

Kahleah Copper, Brittney Griner guide Mercury to wire-to-wire victory over Storm

Kahleah Copper had 30 points, Brittney Griner scored a season-high 28 and the Mercury never trailed in a victory over the Storm on Sunday.

1 day ago

Brittney Griner...

Associated Press

Mercury battle, fall short to Aces despite 25 points from Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner scored 25 points and Diana Taurasi added 22, but the Mercury fell short to the visiting Aces on Thursday night.

4 days ago

Charisma Osborne poses with a Mercury jersey during the WNBA Draft...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Mercury sign 2024 draft pick Charisma Osborne, waive forward Morgan Bertsch

The Phoenix Mercury have signed guard Charisma Osborne, their 2024 WNBA Draft pick, and waived forward Morgan Bertch.

4 days ago

Kahleah Copper...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Kahleah Copper: Making USA Basketball’s Olympic roster is my ‘No. 1 moment’

Phoenix Mercury guard Kahleah Copper was left off the U.S. women's basketball roster to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

5 days ago

Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever...

Dan Bickley

USA Basketball missed with Caitlin Clark’s exclusion from Paris Olympics roster

The WNBA is one of the hottest topics in America. That is a victory. Except the conversation gets political. It gets racial. It gets ugly.

6 days ago

Phoenix Mercury stars Diana Taurasi (right), Brittney Griner (left) and Kahleah Copper will reporte...

Arizona Sports

US women’s team for Paris Olympics features 3 Phoenix Mercury stars

Phoenix Mercury stars Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Kahleah Copper will represent Team USA at the Paris Olympics this summer. 

7 days ago

Taurasi becomes WNBA playoff scoring leader in Mercury loss