Phoenix Mercury clinch playoff spot, will face Aces in opening round

Aug 14, 2022, 12:03 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm

Sophie Cunningham #9 of the Phoenix Mercury high fives Reshanda Gray #12 after a three-point shot a...

Sophie Cunningham #9 of the Phoenix Mercury high fives Reshanda Gray #12 after a three-point shot against the Indiana Fever during the first half of the WNBA game at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Fever 83-71. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Mercury are headed to the WNBA playoffs.

The Mercury entered the final Sunday of the regular season in the No. 7 seed, needing a win or a Minnesota Lynx loss to clinch a postseason berth.

The Lynx fell 90-83 Sunday morning against the Connecticut Sun ahead of Phoenix’s matchup with the Chicago Sky.

The Mercury lost 82-67 against Chicago and finished the regular season 15-21 in the No. 8 seed. They will see the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in the first round of the playoffs.

The reigning western conference champions have made the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season despite one of the more difficult campaigns imaginable.

The Mercury continued to play while center Brittney Griner was detained in Russia.

Forward Tina Charles and the Mercury had a contract divorce in the middle of the season. Diana Taurasi is sidelined with a quad strain and missed the last three games, while All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith has been out the past three games for personal reasons.

“It just shows you how much character they have,” Taurasi told reporters Saturday. “There’s always little times in your career where you have these opportunities that you can either take advantage of or you can kind of look away and say ‘It’s too hard.’ I think everyone on this team has looked at it as an opportunity … I’ve been so proud of them.”

Phoenix won two of three games ahead of Sunday to set itself up to clinch.

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