Mercury and Sky advance to WNBA playoff semifinals

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EVERETT, Wash. (AP)Brittney Griner scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds and Diana Taurasi scored six points in overtime as the Phoenix Mercury beat the Seattle Storm 85-80 in the second-round, single elimination WNBA playoff game on Sunday.

Taurasi, a game-time decision after missing the last five games with a left ankle injury, hit a tying 3-pointer, a step-back jumper and a late free throw as Phoenix took over down the stretch.

The fifth-seeded Mercury open the best-of-five semifinal series No. 2 Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Fourth-seeded Seattle, playing without top scorer Breanna Stewart, opened the overtime with a Katie Lou Samuelson 3-pointer for a 76-73 lead. But from there the Storm struggled, making just 2 of 11 the rest of the way.

The game was tied at 78 when Taurasi, with a big brace on her ankle, hit from the left baseline to put Phoenix ahead for good with 2:14 to play. She grimaced in pain going back on defense.

SKY 89, LYNX 76

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Courtney Vandersloot led a balanced offense with 19 points and the sixth-seeded Sky raced past the third-seeded Lynx in the second-round of the WNBA playoffs.

Chicago opens the best-of-five semifinals series at Connecticut on Tuesday. The Sun closed the regular season with 14 straight wins but lost 2 of 3 to Chicago in the regular season.

Kahleah Copper scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Sky, Azure Stevens added 15 points, Diamond DeShields 14 and Ali Quigley 11.

The Sky, who lost four of six coming into the playoffs, won with a 22-6 advantage in fast break points fueled by 11 steals. They also dominated inside with a 37-29 rebound margin and made 19 of 20 free throws, 10 more than the Lynx.

Aerial Powers led Minnesota, which had won 9 of 10 to end the regular season, with 24 points. Kayla McBride added 19 and Sylvia Fowles 17. Fowles earned the league’s Defensive Player of the Year honors earlier in the day.

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