Perhaps the rematch will be just as compelling when the Phoenix Mercury and Washington Mystics meet Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
In the same arena Sunday night, the Mercury rallied to force overtime and won 99-90, largely behind Skylar Diggins-Smith’s 27 points.
“We’ve got to get some rest,” Phoenix coach Vanessa Nygaard said. “We’ve got to play them again.”
The Mercury (5-8) are in a feel-good mode as they possess a three-game winning streak.
“It’s that collective commitment to each other,” Nygaard said. “And the guts we saw out there.”
The Mercury still have more to prove away from home. The overtime outcome snapped a five-game road skid, pushing their road record to 2-5.
Diggins-Smith has led Phoenix in scoring in two of the last three games. She has reached the 25-point mark in four of her 11 games this season.
Much of coach Mike Thibault’s irritation came from the Mystics (9-6) missing 12 free throws and committing 18 turnovers. Still, they led by six points with less than 3 1/2 minutes remaining in regulation.
“Wasted opportunity,” Thibault said. “This is the most frustrating one of the year. … We let them off the hook.”
That won’t happen again, said Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen, who had a team high in points (18) and rebounds (10).
“We felt like we gave them that game,” she said. “They wanted it more, but we have them Tuesday.”
Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi was a big part of Sunday’s outcome, scoring 12 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter in her first game as a 40-year-old. But less than a minute into overtime, she fouled out.
Taurasi continues to impact the game in many ways. She launched a game-high 11 shots from 3-point range Sunday night, though made only three of those. She also delivered a team-high seven assists.
Another of the league’s stars didn’t play on Sunday, with Washington forward Elena Delle Donne sitting out for the second game in a row because of an ailing back. Thibault said Delle Donne would have played had it been a must-win type of situation, but there’s no reason to risk additional discomfort at this time. So that certainly leaves open the possibility that she’ll play Tuesday night.
There were 55 free throws attempted in Sunday’s game, with the Mystics 22-for-34 and the Mercury 17-for-21.
–Field Level Media