Phoenix Mercury to face Las Vegas Aces in WNBA semis

Sep 26, 2021, 5:04 PM | Updated: Sep 27, 2021, 3:20 pm
Phoenix Mercury players celebrate after the team defeated the Seattle Storm in the second round of ...

Phoenix Mercury players celebrate after the team defeated the Seattle Storm in the second round of the WNBA basketball playoffs Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Everett, Wash. Phoenix won in overtime 85-80. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Not only did the Phoenix Mercury take an 85-80 win over the Seattle Storm in a single-elimination game to advance to the WNBA semifinals on Sunday, they took a victory in their set matchup for the next series.

The No. 5-seed Mercury would have faced the top-seeded Connecticut Sun in the best-of-five semifinal round had the No. 3-seed Minnesota Lynx beaten the No. 6 Chicago Sky. But because the Sky upset the Lynx 89-76 in the other second-round matchup Sunday, Phoenix will now face the No. 2 Las Vegas Aces.

The comparison: Phoenix went 1-2 this year with one overtime win against Las Vegas with a combined point differential of +2. The Aces went 24-8 during the regular season.

Against Connecticut, which was 26-6 this year, the Mercury lost all three matchups by a combined 34 points.

Phoenix’s last loss to the Sun, on Sept. 11, marked the end of a 10-game winning streak following the Olympic break and began a run of three straight losses to end the regular season.

Those defeats to end the year came with Diana Taurasi sidelined. She also missed a playoff-opening win against the New York Liberty before returning to help Phoenix on Sunday defeat the Storm in overtime.

Taurasi scored 14 points to go with five assists on Sunday.

Center Brittney Griner led the Mercury with 23 points and 16 rebounds, while guard Skylar Diggins-Smith added 20 points and six assists.

Phoenix will play against the Aces in Las Vegas on Tuesday and Thursday before returning for Game 3 next Sunday. The first game in Arizona will not be at the team’s homecourt at Footprint Center due to a scheduling conflict.

The Mercury will play at Arizona State University’s Desert Financial Arena.

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