Mercury finish sweep of Sky for third WNBA title
CHICAGO — Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree scored 24 points each and the Phoenix Mercury, playing without star center Brittney Griner, beat the Chicago Sky 87-82 Friday night to complete a three-game sweep of the WNBA Finals for their third championship.
DeWanna Bonner added 12 points for the Mercury, who also won titles in 2007 and 2009. Griner sat out following surgery to correct a retinal issue after she was hit in the right eye in Game 2.
Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points, Sylvia Fowles had 20 points and Allie Quigley had 19 for the Sky.
Taurasi hit a tiebreaking short jumper and was fouled with 14.3 seconds left and she made the ensuing free throw to put Phoenix up 85-82.
Delle Donne missed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left, and the Sky fouled Penny Taylor, who made both free throws with 9.3 seconds left for the final score.
Taurasi, who was 4 for 9 on 3s, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer in the finals. Phoenix, which had a WNBA-record 29 wins during the regular season, shot 49.3 percent overall from the field.
Griner traveled to Chicago on Friday and shot around during pregame warm-ups. She said it was a doctor’s decision to sit out.
“They wanted to make sure I was OK for the future, so I’m still day by day right now,” she said.
Instead of Griner, the Mercury started 6-foot-4 Ewelina Kobryn at center.
Phoenix tied it at 67 in the fourth after three free throws. Jessica Breland was whistled for a technical after Bonner was fouled. Taylor made the technical free throw, and Bonner hit both of her foul shots before.
Taurasi then made a 3 and a jumper to put the Mercury ahead 72-67.
After the Sky cut the lead to two, Taurasi answered with a 3 with 5:02 left.
Courtney Vandersloot’s jumper with 3:32 left was the Sky’s first field goal in nearly 6 minutes, cutting Phoenix’s lead to 77-74.
Taurasi completed a three-point play a minute later for a four-point lead before Delle Donne cut it to two again. Quigley’s jumper tied it with 33.1 seconds left before Taurasi took control.
Phoenix’s sweep in the finals was the fourth in the last five years, and fifth since the championship round went to a best-of-five format in 2005.
Chicago was the first team with a losing record during the regular season to reach the finals.