The Phoenix Mercury were without star center Brittney Griner. However, they still had former UConn Great G Diana Taurasi. Taurasi scored 14 of her 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Mercury beat the Chicago Sky 87-82 Friday night to complete a three-game sweep of the WNBA Finals for their 3rd championship.
''We have the best player in the world, Diana Taurasi,'' Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello said. ''When you put the ball in her hands at crunch time, she makes it happen.''
Taurasi made big plays as the Sky were threatening to force a Game 4. She hit a tie-breaking 16-foot jumper and was fouled with 14.3 seconds left and made the ensuing free throw to put Phoenix up 85-82. Taurasi shot 4 for 9 on 3's and became the WNBA's all-time leading scorer in the finals. She had some help. After she reached the podium, she slid her MVP trophy over toward her teammate Candice Dupree, a former Sky player who also scored 24 points on 11-for-16 shooting.
''Candice has probably been overlooked her whole career on whatever team she has played on. I've never played with someone that I'm so confident going into a game with. You always know she's going to be able to play. She led us in assists. She never passes, so you knew we were going to win today,'' Taurasi said with a smile.
DeWanna Bonner had 12 points and Penny Taylor added 11 for the Mercury, who also won titles in 2007 and 2009. Phoenix, which had a WNBA-record 29 wins during the regular season, shot 49.3 percent overall from the field and never led by more than five in the Game 3 victory. Elena Delle Donne, who battled a back injury during the series, scored 23 points, Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and Allie Quigley had 19 for the Sky.